RoundupReads Visual Voyage Following Return of NASA’s First Commercial Crew

Visual Voyage Following Return of NASA’s First Commercial Crew

by Catherine Ragin Williams | 2020-08-03

Low-Earth orbit is a little bit lonelier now that three humans remain aboard the International Space Station following the return on Aug. 2 of NASA’s first commercial crew. While the Expedition 63 crew of Commander Chris Cassidy and Flight Engineers Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner will stay in space until October, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are safely back on Earth — and now even closer to home in Houston — following a two-month mission on station. Representing NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, they are the first crew to launch to space and splashdown on Earth inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle.

Their breakthrough demonstration mission sets the stage for two operational Crew Dragon missions: Crew-1, planned for later this year, and Crew-2, targeted for spring 2021. Both Commercial Crew missions will up the crew rosters to four people each and continue crucial microgravity research aboard the orbiting laboratory complex.

Enjoy images, below, from the last leg of this historic demonstration mission through the crew's return to Ellington Field for a media event featuring NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer, and others.

Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls