4 astronauts head home from space station after hurricane passes through Florida

Sep 3, 2023, 8:20 PM

(CNN) —Four astronauts concluded their six-month stay aboard the International Space Station on Sunday and are heading for a splashdown off the coast of Florida days after Hurricane Idalia ravaged parts of the state.

The astronauts, members of the Crew-6 mission run jointly by NASA and SpaceX, boarded their Crew Dragon capsule on Sunday and departed the space station at 7:05 a.m. ET. The crew is expected to spend one day aboard the 13-foot-wide vehicle as it maneuvers through Earth’s orbit and toward its target landing site.

The Crew Dragon capsule is expected to splashdown at 12:17 a.m. ET.

NASA said that it had been monitoring the impact of Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall Wednesday morning on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The storm pummeled northern Florida before tearing through southern Georgia and into the Carolinas.

The four astronauts headed for a splashdown include NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, as well as Sultan Alneyadi, the second astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to travel to space, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.

Florida Gators fans watch game in Utah while keeping eye on Hurricane Idalia damage

The group spent six months on board the orbiting laboratory after launching to the station in March. Over the past week, the Crew-6 astronauts have worked to welcome and hand over operations to the Crew-7 team members, who arrived at the space station on Sunday.

During their stint in space, the Crew-6 astronauts were slated to oversee more than 200 science and tech projects.

“We got a lot done during our mission,” Hoburg said during a remote news conference with the astronauts on August 23. “We had two visiting SpaceX cargo vehicles — the CRS-27 and 28 missions with lots of science on board. And we, as a crew, conducted a total of three spacewalks.”

During their stay, the Crew-6 astronauts also hosted the Axiom Mission 2 crew, a group of one former NASA astronaut and three paying customers that included an American businessman and two astronauts from Saudi Arabia. That flight was part of a plan to fly tourists and other paying customers regularly to the International Space Station as NASA has sought to increase the amount of commercial activity in low-Earth orbit.

“It’s been a big adventure and a lot of fun,” Hoburg added.

The group also recognized their colleague Frank Rubio, a NASA astronaut who traveled to the space station last September aboard a Russian Soyuz vehicle alongside two cosmonauts. Rubio has spent nearly 350 days on board the space station and is soon set to break the record for the longest time a US astronaut has spent in microgravity. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei set the current record of 355 days in 2022.

Rubio’s return trip had been slated for the spring. But the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that carried him and two Russian colleagues to the space station sprang a coolant leak late last year. Officials at Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, later deemed the spacecraft was not safe enough to carry the astronauts back home, then sent a replacement vehicle and extended the ongoing mission by six months.

“We’ve been up here for six months,” Hoburg said. “Frank thought when he flew to space he would be here for six months, and partway through his mission he found out that it was extended to a year. His leadership up here … has been incredible.”

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Science & Technology

graphic with a brain connected to electronic pathways creating AI...

Associated Press

OpenAI forms safety committee as it starts training new artificial intelligence model

OpenAI says it's setting up a safety and security committee and has begun training a new AI model to supplant the GPT-4 system that underpins its ChatGPT chatbot.

2 days ago

FILE - Boeing's Starliner capsule atop an Atlas V rocket is seen at Space Launch Complex 41 at the ...

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

Boeing’s 1st astronaut flight now set for June after a review of small leak on new capsule

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch at the beginning of June, after spending the past few weeks struggling with more problems on the space capsule.

5 days ago

A Bell 505 helicopter demonstrated the takeoff and landing capabilities that future air taxis will ...

Kiersten Nunez

A glimpse into the future of urban air travel with Utah’s first vertiport demonstration

An empty parking lot in Layton has been transformed into the stage for Utah’s first vertiport demonstration, offering a vision of the future of urban air travel.

10 days ago

Madison Police Department Mid Town District Capt. Jason Freedman and Det. Lindsey Ludden talk with ...

Associated Press

Bones found in 1989 in chimney identified as man who last contacted relatives in 1970

Authorities say human bones found inside the chimney of a Wisconsin music store in 1989 have been identified as those of a man whose last known contact with relatives was in 1970.

13 days ago

Visitors look at the skeleton of a gigantic Triceratops over 66 million years old, named "Big John,...

Katie Hunt, CNN

Mystery of warm-blooded dinosaurs could be unraveled by new study

Were dinosaurs warm-blooded like birds and mammals or cold-blooded like reptiles? It’s one of paleontology’s oldest questions. Here's what new research found.

15 days ago

A box full of donated eclipse glasses being inspected by Boy Scouts to help a local business owner ...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah eclipse glasses program calls for volunteers after overwhelming donation response

A Provo eclipse glasses donation program is asking for help to sort through hundreds of thousands of glasses people have been sending in from all over the country.

20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

4 astronauts head home from space station after hurricane passes through Florida