After 199 days in space, the longest-duration mission for a U.S. spacecraft, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts, Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet, returned to Earth, splashing down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 10:33 p.m. EST on November 8.
Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts were quickly recovered by the SpaceX recovery team. SpaceX will transport Dragon back to Cape Canaveral, Florida for inspections and refurbishment ahead of future human spaceflight missions.
This mission marked multiple firsts for SpaceX and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, including being the first to fly two international partners, the first crew mission to use a flight-proven Dragon and Falcon 9, and the first U.S. spacecraft to spend 199 consecutive days in orbit.
Crew Dragon autonomously undocks from the Space Station and performs a series of departure burns to move away from the orbiting laboratory.
If required, Dragon performs a series of orbit-lowering maneuvers that line up its ground track with the desired landing location.
Prior to Dragon’s deorbit burn, the flight computer jettisons the trunk in order to reduce mass and save propellant.
Dragon conducts its deorbit burn, which lasts ~12 minutes.
Dragon experiences significant heating and drag as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, which slows the velocity to the point of safe parachute deploy.
Dragon’s two drogue parachutes deploy at ~18,000 feet followed by four main parachutes that deploy at ~6,500 feet.
Under four main parachutes, Dragon safely touches down at a velocity of 25 feet per second and autonomously releases its parachutes.