Science & Technology

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Return to Earth Delayed Again

The SpaceX Dragon Freedom capsule is seen after docking to the International Space Station while the station was orbiting 261 statute miles above the Pacific Ocean. Credit: NASA

Crew-4 was scheduled to undock from the International Space Station (ISS) at 7:05 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 12, to begin their journey back to Earth. Due to poor weather near the splashdown zones, the return home was delayed, with a new planned undocking at 10:05 a.m. on Thursday, October 13. Due to continued weather issues, the return to Earth has again been delayed another day. Crew-4 has been onboard the ISS since April 27.

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 11:35 a.m. EDT (8:35 a.m. PDT) on Friday, October 14, for the Crew-4 undocking from the (ISS) to begin their return trip to Earth completing a nearly six-month science mission in orbit. Splashdown is targeted several hours later at approximately 4:50 p.m. off the coast of Florida.

Mission teams continued to monitor a cold front passing through Florida on Thursday, October 13, which brought high winds and rainy weather near the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Current weather predictions are showing greater forecast certainty Friday due to a high-pressure system behind the cold front. This is expected to bring more favorable conditions for splashdown and recovery. NASA and SpaceX will continue to monitor splashdown and recovery conditions with another weather review planned for approximately eight hours before undocking. Teams also will evaluate multiple options for undocking opportunities Friday and Saturday.

International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragons Freedom and Endurance; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-22 crew ship and the Progress 80 and 81 resupply ships. Credit: NASA

Crew-4’s Dragon undocking depends on a variety of factors, including spacecraft readiness, recovery team readiness, sea states, weather, and other factors. Dragon Freedom remains healthy while currently docked to the orbiting lab.

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming return activities for the Crew-4 mission with NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Dragon’s hatch closing, undocking, and splashdown coverage will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio-only post-splashdown news teleconference. Follow all live events at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Friday, October 14

9:30 a.m. – Hatch closure coverage begins for the approximately 9:55 a.m. hatch closing
11:15 a.m. – Undocking coverage begins for 11:35 a.m. undocking with a Friday splashdown
4:50 p.m. (approximately) – Splashdown off the coast of Florida
6:30 p.m. – Return to Earth media teleconference call from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with:

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