Amateur Radio News

SpaceX Crew-1 Mission Returns Ham Astronauts to Earth with a Splash!

On May 2, the Crew Dragon spacecraft called Resilience returned to Earth with four ham astronauts aboard in what was the first nighttime splashdown since the Apollo 8 landing in 1968. Astronauts Michael Hopkins, KF5LJG, Victor Glover, KI5BKC, Shannon Walker, KD5DXB, and Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP, splashed into the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida (see actual footage here).

As part of the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 64/65 crew, the all-ham team, which departed on November 15, 2020, joined Expedition 64 commander Sergey Ryzhikov and flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, who were already aboard the ISS. During their stay on the ISS, the crew made contact with students participating in the ARISS program, and Glover gained hands-on ham and space experience with a newly acquired technician’s license obtained specifically for his first momentous trip into space.

The mission was one of the first to use a commercial spacecraft supplied by Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, KE5GGX, who launched in May 2020, marked the first of these operational missions with commercial crafts. Upon their entrance into gulf waters, Micheael Heiman, a SpaceX mission control official, laughingly told the astronauts, “For those of you enrolled in our frequent flier program, you have earned 68 million miles on this voyage.” Hopkins replied, “Resilience is back on planet Earth and we’ll take those miles.” He then added, “Are they transferrable?” We hope for the astronauts’ sake that they are. Welcome back ISS Expedition 64/65 crew, we’re glad to have you!

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