SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down with Crew-5 astronauts after 157 days in space

The four members of Crew-5 were in space for about five months.

The Crew-5 pilots from SpaceX have landed on the planet.

The five-month journey to the International Space Station was completed by the four astronauts on board the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft Endurance splashing down late on Saturday (March 11). NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina returned on the spacecraft, which splashed down in the night off the shore of Tampa Bay, Florida, at 9:02 p.m. EST (0202 GMT on March 12).

"Thanks, SpaceX; that was a wild journey!" After splashdown, Mann radioed the SpaceX mission control crew. We're glad to be back home.

Mann, Cassada, Kikina, and the other three astronauts spent 157 days in orbit on their journey to the space station, which was their first time in space. Wakata, who has spent 505 days in space so far, made his fifth trip. Fast vessels operated by SpaceX's rescue crew, the S.S. Shannon (named after pilot Shannon Walker who went on the company's Crew-1 mission for NASA), soon appeared on the scene.

In order to set itself up for atmospheric return, Endurance conducted a sequence of movements after docking with the station earlier on Saturday at 2:20 a.m. EST (0720 GMT). SpaceX's fifth operational flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program came to a successful conclusion with a secure splashdown under parachute swapping crew members with Crew-6, who had just arrived.

As it reentered Earth's atmosphere, the Crew-5 Dragon, according to NASA authorities, shone brightly in the night sky.

Mann became the first Native American woman to travel to space, and Kikina became the first Russian to ride on a commercial American ship, both thanks to the Crew-5 mission. The voyage also marked Wakata's third crew-rated craft—Crew Dragon—and fifth return from orbit overall—a Japanese record.

By the way, a fifth person could have traveled on Endurance to return home. A Russian Soyuz ship that had landed at the station in mid-December 2022 sprung a leak and lost all of its coolant, presumably due to a meteoroid impact. Frank Rubio from NASA was one of the three space travelers who were scheduled to take that Soyuz home.

In case an ISS emergency evacuation was necessary, Endurance was briefly equipped to transport an additional person, Rubio. (Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, the other two Soyuz crew members, would have taken the damaged Soyuz home; Russian space authorities had decided the ship could safely transport two people, but not three, without coolant.)

However, the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a new Soyuz to transport Rubio, Prokopyev, and Petelin home last month, removing the Endurance upgrades.

On March 3, SpaceX's Crew-6 delivered NASA astronauts Warren "Woody" Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) pilot Sultan Al-Neyadi on the Dragon spacecraft Endeavour for a six-month tenure at the orbiting lab.

Al-Neyadi is the first UAE astronaut to perform a lengthy space journey, making Crew-6 a significant assignment as well.