Cape Canaveral –
Without a functioning toilet on their “Crew Dragon,” four astronauts disembarked from the International Space Station and landed at sea off the US state of Florida on Tuesday morning (CET). The so-called “Crew-2” included French Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan MacArthur and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, as announced by the US space agency NASA.
After undocking, the spacecraft, which is loaded with about 250 kilograms of scientific experiments, must first fly around the space station to take photos for possible upcoming repairs.
Astronaut Matthias Maurer on the ISS. can leave for
Because the toilet on board Elon Musk’s “Crew Dragon” of space company SpaceX was broken, the four astronauts, who have been on the ISS since April, had to wear a kind of diaper upon their return. MacArthur had already said in a press conference that it was “sub-optimal”. “But there are too many small challenges in space travel and we are ready to bring it under control.”
Originally, the undocking of “Crew-2” was scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed to Monday due to bad weather conditions. After the successful landing of “Crew-2”, German astronaut Matthias Maurer with his “Crew-3” may leave for the ISS as early as Thursday morning (CET).
The 51-year-old Saarland native’s start was actually scheduled for the last weekend in October, but has been postponed several times, among other things, due to bad weather and a “minor medical problem” of a crew member. The problem will probably be solved from the start, NASA said, and the weather for the now planned date was pleasantly predicted at the start.
A German in space for the first time in three years
For the first time in three years, a German astronaut has accompanied Maurer into space. Together with NASA colleagues Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, it will take off from Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida. These four astronauts are also to be carried in a “Crew Dragon”.
With the flight, Maurer will be the twelfth German in space, the fourth on the ISS, and the first to fly there with a “Crew Dragon”. On the ISS, European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts will conduct several experiments at an altitude of about 400 kilometers for about six months and possibly complete an external mission. The last time a German ESA astronaut was Alexander Gerst in space was in 2018.
A handover between “Crew-2” and “Crew-3” on board the ISS was actually planned. It’s failing now, but it’s not a problem, NASA astronaut Kimbrough told a news conference. The task will now be handled by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hey, who arrived at the ISS in April with cosmonauts Oleg Nowiczky and Pyotr Dubro.
Maurer wished “Crew-2” a safe home journey on Monday via short message service Twitter. “It’s a shame that we won’t fly each other on the space station anymore”, but trust us you’ll leave everything clean.” (DPA)
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