SpaceX Crew-6 astronauts say goodbye from ISS and prepare for return to Earth (Image Credit: Space.com)
Four astronauts bade farewell from space a few days before flying home.
The members of SpaceX‘s Crew-6 mission, which has spent more than six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), delivered their farewell remarks from orbit Thursday (Aug. 31), thanking everybody for supporting them ahead of their expected departure on Saturday (Sept. 2).
“When we showed up here six months ago, it was a new experience for all of us,” NASA astronaut and Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen said during the livestreamed remarks on NASA Television. “I’d been to space, but never been on a long-duration mission, and this has been an absolutely incredible experience.”
The Crew-6 mission included cargo spacecraft visits, three spacewalks and the arrival of the Ax-2 private astronaut crew, on a mission organized by Houston company Axiom Space, NASA astronaut Woody Hoburg recalled. “Hopefully we’re leaving the space station just a little bit better than we found it,” he said.
You can watch the Crew-6 undocking and splashdown live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA Television. Coverage of the hatch closing and undocking begins at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) on Saturday, Sept. 2, while splashdown coverage begins later that evening at 11:45 p.m. EDT (0345 GMT Sunday, Sept. 3). Splashdown is expected off the coast of Florida on Sunday at 12:58 a.m. EDT (0458 GMT).
NASA officials said in a blog post that they are monitoring the possible impacts of Hurricane Idelia on these activities, but no changes have been made to the schedule as of yet. The hurricane made a destructive landfall in Florida on Wednesday (Aug. 30).
Crew-6 launched to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 2 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their Crew Dragon spacecraft docked with the ISS on March 3. The full crew includes NASA’s Bowen and Hoburg, along with cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, the first person from the UAE to do a long-duration mission and a spacewalk.
“I felt that I’m responsible, obligated, to show what’s happening with the station,” Al Neyadi said of his outreach focused especially on the UAE, which included hundreds of posts on social media with pictures and videos the documented his daily activities. “I think it’s a small boost towards spreading the enthusiasm in our region. I can’t be happier. With the time I was here, (I was) doing everything possible.”