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Return of NASA astronauts delayed again until early Sunday, with rare night splashdown

It's the 1st night splashdown of a U.S. crewed spacecraft since 1968
Soichi Noguchi, Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover
Posted at 8:48 AM, May 01, 2021

NASA and SpaceX have again delayed the return of four astronauts to Earth.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi is now set to land in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast “no earlier than about 2:57 a.m. EDT Sunday, May 2.”

NASA says the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 8:35 p.m. EDT Saturday to begin the journey home.

NASA and SpaceX say they decided to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Friday and Saturday following a review of the forecast in the splashdown zones, which predicted wind speeds above the return criteria.

NASA says it forecasts ideal conditions for both the splashdown and recovery during the weekend.

This will be the first night splashdown of a U.S. crewed spacecraft since Apollo 8’s predawn return in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 27, 1968, according to NASA.

Crew-1 was originally set to return Wednesday, but that plan was abandoned because of inclement weather conditions in the gulf.