Ax-3 Astronaut Crew Lands off the Coast of Florida Following a Nearly Week-Long Delay Due to Weather

Ax-3 Astronaut Crew Lands off the Coast of Florida Following a Nearly Week-Long Delay Due to Weather

Due to bad weather in the vicinity of Florida, the first all-European private astronaut mission had to spend an additional six days in space before landing early on Friday morning.

On Wednesday morning, the crew finally parted ways with the International Space Station, starting their two-day return trip to Earth. About 8:30 a.m. EST, it came crashing down off the coast of Florida.
Due to bad weather this week in the recovery zone off Florida, SpaceX stated that the four-person crew would stay an extra few days in orbit instead of their initial scheduled return home date of Saturday.

SpaceX has seven possible landing sites off the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines of Florida from where it can recover the Crew Dragon spacecraft and its crew. Nonetheless, in order to ensure the safe return and retrieval of the Dragon spacecraft, wave height, wind, and rain must all satisfy NASA’s recovery requirements.

Following several days of inclement weather, the storm system that was presenting issues for the Ax-3 return passed up the East Coast, allowing the crew to depart.

At 9:20 a.m. ET on Wednesday, after spending 20 days in space, the Dragon forced itself to separate from the station while it was over the South Pacific Ocean.

“We hope you had a wonderful time on station, and we’re looking forward to seeing your smiling faces,” SpaceX ground control told the crew.

Weather Plays a Crucial Role in Ensuring a Safe SpaceX Crew Dragon Crash

As Dragon circled the Earth and prepared for the splashdown around 47.5 hours later off the shore of Daytona Beach, Florida, the Ax-3 crew spent two more days in low gravity. The Dragon’s arrival on Earth and its departure from the International Space Station are contingent upon the station’s location with respect to the landing zone and meteorological conditions.

At 17,500 mph, the spacecraft re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. Before landing, it decelerated to a few mph using a parachute system. After that, Dragon gently descended into the ocean off the coast of Florida, where recovery teams from NASA and SpaceX were waiting.

The crew carried out over thirty microgravity experiments while in orbit. Biomedical research, sleep, bone health, space weather, and pasta making in orbit were among the subjects of the Ax-3 experiment. The private astronauts used their additional days in orbit to carry out further research and organize outreach activities for their own nations.

With a crew from Italy, Turkey, and Sweden, the mission was the first all-European human voyage to the International Space Station. For López-Alegría, the company’s chief astronaut and a former NASA astronaut, the spaceflight was her second Axiom Space mission. In April 2022, he led Axiom Space’s first-ever voyage to the International Space Station as captain.

Sanchita Patil

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