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WATCH: Crew-2 returns to Earth after 6-month mission on ISS

The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with the Crew-2 onboard is heading back to Earth after completing a near six-month mission on the International Space Station.

WATCH: Crew-2 returns to Earth after 6-month mission on ISS
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Endeavour undocked from the space-facing port of the ISS Harmony module at 2:05pm EST on Monday, 8 November, and is targeting a splash down at 10:33pm EST off the coast of Florida near Pensacola, NASA says.

Watch below for the events to unfold.

The astronauts launched to the ISS in late April, and are departing just ahead of the Crew-3 arrival, targeting a Wednesday, 10 November blast-off from Florida after several delays due to weather and a minor medical issue.

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Onboard are NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who completed 199 days in orbit.

Mark Vande Hei, a NASA astronaut who launched in April to the ISS but is remaining in orbit until March, said as the Crew-2 departed: “Very quickly, I wanted to say thanks to all of you.”

"It's been great to be part of your team," he said. "Get home safely."

Shane Kimbrough responded via radio: "We learned a lot from you and know you're going to treat Crew-3 really well … let us know if we can do anything for you …Take care and fly safe."

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Shortly after Endeavour undocked, it completed its “fly around maneuver” to photograph the exterior of the ISS, NASA said.

The captures images will allow teams to examine areas of the station that are not visible to the outpost’s cameras.

Once the fly around was completed, Endeavour began additional engine burns to launch the spacecraft out of the vicinity of the station towards its orbital track that will return the Crew-2 to Earth.

The spacecraft is returning 530 pounds worth of hardware and scientific investigations back to Earth.

Undocking was supposed to begin on Sunday, 7 November, but NASA teams postponed it by one day due to “high winds” near the splashdown zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Crew-2 is the second of six NASA and SpaceX crewed missions to the ISS, intended to further enhance the United States’ space capabilities, launching humans from American soil and homebred built spacecraft and rockets.

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Isabella Richards

Isabella Richards

Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

You can email Bella on: [email protected]

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