It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


SpaceX returns four astronauts to Earth , First Nighttime Splashdown Since 1968

page: 1

log in


posted on May, 2 2021 @ 04:27 AM
Just before 3 a.m local time this morning the SpaceX Dragon capsule safely dropped into the Gulf of Mexico returning 4 astronauts from the International Space Station making this the first Nighttime Splashdown Since Apollo 8 moonshot.

The astronauts, three American and one Japanese, flew back in the same capsule — named Resilience — in which they launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in November.

“We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX's Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. “For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you've earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”

“We'll take those miles,” said spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. “Are they transferrable?” SpaceX replied that the astronauts would have to check with the company's marketing department.

A bit of night fishing.

Welcome home chaps.

edit on 2-5-2021 by gortex because: edit to add

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 05:38 AM
a reply to: gortex

Very cool, im really glad to see Space X doing so well!

Do you think we will set foot on Mars by 2025?

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 05:52 AM
a reply to: Alien Abduct

Do you think we will set foot on Mars by 2025?

Personally I can't see any way we could be ready to set foot on Mars before the 2030's , going before we are ready would be a costly mistake that could set our aspiration back by perhaps a decade or more.

For me a space station orbiting the Moon should be our next step.

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 06:01 AM
a reply to: gortex
Gort, I saw they cut the second video just in the moment the first astronaut was coming out. That's the most important part. Why they did that ?

Also noticed the emergency stretcher.
edit on 2-5-2021 by Trueman because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 06:20 AM
a reply to: gortex

Was there any specific reason for doing it in the middle of the night?

(Well, before posting that↑ question, I read the article and found the answer, so I'll post the answer myself)

Hopkins and Glover — along with NASA's Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi — should have returned to Earth last Wednesday, but high offshore winds forced SpaceX to pass up a pair of daytime landing attempts. Managers switched to a rare splashdown in darkness, to take advantage of calm weather.

edit on 5/2/21 by BrokenCircles because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 07:44 AM
a reply to: gortex

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 08:02 AM
Thanks for sharing.

I don't recall hearing about many splashdowns in the Gulf of Mexico? My recollection was that return capsules would typically execute water landings in the Atlantic/Pacific.

Is this a relatively new way of doing things?

The Gulf of Mexico is more shallow, warmer and not as prone to volatile weather as the Earth's oceans, but...with a lot less margin for error in hitting your mark.

Wikipedia has a list of splashdown locations by GPS coordinates.


Gulf of Mexico's diameter is ~810 nautical miles. I guess SpaceX must feel pretty confident that they can land capsules there without chance of overshooting the water.

From the Wikipedia link above, I found only 2 GoM splashdowns (both from most recent SpaceX missions)
edit on 2-5-2021 by SleeperHasAwakened because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 2 2021 @ 10:43 AM
Still waiting for a video of the 4 astronauts out of the ship. The only update I saw is photos of them (one each), already out (if those photos are legit). Turning off the camera made this suspicious.

posted on May, 3 2021 @ 11:13 AM
a reply to: SleeperHasAwakened

I'm guessing here, but you're guess of "because they can" probably isn't too far off the mark.

Circumlunar Apollo missions didn't orbit the Earth on returning from the moon, and so targeted the largest possible landing area available to allow for any potential problems (a number of missions made adjustments to allow for bad weather). The availability of the Pacific fleet helped.

The missions that orbited the Earth tended to land off Florida, again near handy naval fleets.

If youu'e in Earth orbit you can be much more precise about where you land, and if you can choose a less risky Gulf instead of open ocean then why not!

posted on May, 4 2021 @ 12:57 PM
a reply to: OneBigMonkeyToo

Early orbital landings were in many cases hit or miss

John Glenn (MA 6) landed some 40 miles short of the predicted point

Scott Carpenter (MA 7) overshot the landing by some 250 miles when screwed up the retrofire procedures

Gemini 3 (GT 3) landed some 50 miles short do to miscalculations on how much lift the spacecraft would generate
on reentry

Apollo 11 had to move its landing zone by several hundred miles when a secret group in the CIA tasked with predicting weather patterns for high altitude reconnaissance flights found that there would be severe weather in the landing zone.

Problem was to communicate this to NASA without blowing their cover

Then there is the case of Gemini 8 (GT 8) which had to make an emergency landing in Pacific south of Okinawa when a short circuited thruster caused the spacecraft to spin wildly in orbit

Spacecraft commander Neil Armstrong had to shut down the Gemini thrusters and use the reentry thrusters to get spacecraft under control

The Soviets made an unintentional splashdown on Soyuz 23 when the spacecraft landed in shallow Lake Tengiz, a partially frozen lake in October 1976.

The recovery forces were unable to get the spacecraft to land, it was too heavy to lift by the helicopters. The waterlogged parachutes dragged it underwater. Attempts to reach it by amphibious craft failed because the shoreline was too soft and boggy. The crew almost suffocated because the hatch and air inlet were underwater

Soviets were able to finally drag it to shore by helicopters

Of course there is Gus Grissom (NR 4) where hatch blew and capsule sank

Splashdowns are always fraught with dangers

posted on May, 4 2021 @ 02:21 PM

originally posted by: firerescue
Apollo 11 had to move its landing zone by several hundred miles when a secret group in the CIA tasked with predicting weather patterns for high altitude reconnaissance flights found that there would be severe weather in the landing zone.

Problem was to communicate this to NASA without blowing their cover

I happen to know a lot about this story and for me it has a few issues.

The weather forecaster involved (Hank Brandli) wasn't CIA, but did have access to classified DMSP satellite records.

I don't doubt his story that he risked exposing classified information by revealing his interpretation, but I do question whether the satellite images he had access to were any better than the ones already being used by ESSA (the civilian body that oversaw satellites) and other agencies in the Spaceflight Meteorology Group to forecast weather at both launch and splashdown.

The advantage the military's own satellites had over ESSA's were that they could adjust orbits to meet their own requirements, but I've yet to see any evidence that the images they produced were any better. That said, they reportedly had more sensors on their satellites which could have helped in improved forecasting.

The guy that Brandli reported his findings to (Willard Houston) was already involved with ESSA and the SMG, who in turn was high ranking enough to get in touch with the Apollo recovery fleet commander. There is evidence that personnel in that fleet and in NASA were aware of the potential for bad weather before it was relayed to the Apollo crew. What is difficult to disentangle is whether that awareness came from parallel weather forecasting by civilian agencies or as a result of Brandli's work, or a mixture of both.

Either way, it does indicate the benefit of having a much wider target area available for you should the need arise. Apollo 14 also had concerns about the splashdown area, but weather patterns shifted in their favour, and Apollo 13 obviously had a lot of hasty re-thinking to be done.

top topics


log in