That’s not a shooting star; it’s a spaceship.
The return of SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut mission to Earth early Friday (May 6) was captured in epic photos as the crew wrapped up half a year on the International Space Station.
Both NASA and SpaceX, which supplied Crew-3’s Dragon capsule for the agency, captured the spacecraft gliding high in the atmosphere in the minutes before the successful splashdown at 12:43 a.m. EDT (0443 GMT). , 176 days after his mission began.
The epic photos show a meteor-like vehicle speeding through the atmosphere with four people on board: Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, all of NASA, and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency (ESA). .
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NASA photographer Aubrey Gemignani captured the re-entry of the Dragon capsule in several photos.
Above is a view of the capsule as it plunges into the atmosphere early Friday morning.
Below is a wider view of SpaceX’s Crew-3 Dragon with the lights of the recovery ships visible at the bottom of the image, including what appears to be a night-glow spotlight at the bottom right.
The returning Endurance spacecraft was visible in Mexico, Florida, and nearby areas, prompting some social media action from people getting up early (or staying up late) to watch the show.
Dragon Capsule Endurance re-entry seen from southeastern Mexico (Villahermosa, Tabasco) #SpaceX #Dragon #ISS #NASA #Space pic.twitter.com/eLYiW289XVMay 6, 2022
Standing on the shores of Clearwater Beach, I watched Crew Dragon and his crew of four soar through the night sky on their journey home. Time to head back to the Space Coast for a launch 🚀 #Crew3 @SpaceX @NASA pic.twitter.com/b1KiuoC9YZMay 6, 2022
In the minutes after splashdown, the four astronauts gave an enthusiastic “Hello” to Earth after recovery officials arrived at the spacecraft.
While it normally takes about a day on our planet to fully recover from each day in space, astronauts should be able to resume many of their normal activities (such as showering, driving, and exercising) in just a few weeks.