11 July 2024

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 returned to Earth on Saturday after a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, livestreamed video broadcast by the US space agency showed.

The SpaceX “Endurance” capsule carried Koichi Wakata of Japan, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, and NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada.

It splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico shortly after 9:00 PM (0200 GMT) off the west coast of Florida.

Crew-5, which launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral in early October 2022, was the fifth mission in space for Wakata and the first for Cassada, Kikina and Mann — who also became the first Native American woman in space, NASA said.

Before leaving the ISS, Crew-5 were met by the successor Crew-6 mission members, who launched March 1 from Cape Canaveral.

Less than a week before that, a Soyuz rocket was launched from Kazakhstan to serve as a replacement for MS-22, another Russian vessel that was damaged while attached to the ISS.

The three members of MS-22, an American and two Russians, were originally scheduled to return in late March after about six months in space, but will now stay for almost a year.

Cooperation on the ISS has become one of the few remaining areas where the United States and Russia have continued to work together since Moscow invaded Ukraine over a year ago.

By AFP