SpaceX Crew-1 mission a returned safely to Earth – and broke a record in the process. NASA has confirmed that Crew-1 broke the record for the longest mission duration for a crewed U.S. spacecraft, with the 168-day Crew Dragon Resilience capsule in orbit before descending off the coast of Florida at 2:56 a.m. EST. The best precedent dates back to February 1974, when the last Skylab crew spent just over 84 days on their mission.
NASA reiterated that this was also the first nighttime splashdown for a crewed U.S. spacecraft since Apollo 8 touched the ocean in December 1968.
The achievement is not completely unexpected when the Crew-1 team was supposed to spend about six months conducting experiments, spacewalks and other activities aboard the International Space Station. The recently moored Crew-2 should last that long. However, the completed mission is an important step. It shows how far spaceflight has evolved in half a century and proves that private spacecraft are ready to handle some of the most demanding tasks of crew travel.
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