SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission is ready to come back after half a year at the International Space Station. NASA has confirmed that Crew-2 will return starting November 7th at 11:10AM Eastern, when astronauts close the Endeavour capsule’s hatch. The vehicle undocks at 1:05PM, and should splash down on November 8th around 7:14AM Eastern. You can watch live coverage starting November 7th at 10:45AM through NASA’s YouTube channel, below.
Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA), Thomas Pesquet (ESA), Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur (both from NASA) will have spent 199 days aboard the ISS, and will be coming back with both hardware and science experiments. Crew-2 has been a crucial mission for SpaceX on multiple fronts. It’s not just additional proof that private spacecraft are a viable option for NASA operations — Endeavour is SpaceX’s first reused Crew Dragon capsule. If all goes well, the company will have lowered the practical costs for ferrying people to space in the post-Space Shuttle era.
The ISS will be crowded for a little while. NASA and SpaceX currently expect to launch Crew-3 on November 3rd and dock that same day. Not that either outfit necessarily minds. The third ISS trip marks the start of a routine where NASA-oriented Crew Dragon flights are no longer rare. This is, effectively, the new normal.