Watch SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission return to Earth starting at 8:35 p.m. ET


SpaceX first operational mission with crew is about to end. NASA expects the Crew-1 mission to begin its return to Earth today (May 1) at 8:35 p.m. EST, and you can tune in live at NASA television (below) to see the historical conclusion. Be prepared for a late night if you’re on the East Coast, however. As the undocking of the International Space Station begins in the evening, the Crew Dragon capsule is not expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico until May 2 at 2:57 a.m.

Crew-1 was originally scheduled to land on April 30, but faced two weather delays at potential landing sites. Astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi (from JAXA) and Shannon Walker spent about six months in orbit aboard the ISS.

This should be an important moment for SpaceX, which launched its Crew-2 mission days earlier. It is also symbolically important for NASA. The agency noted that this was the first nighttime splashdown for an American crewed spacecraft since Apollo 8 on December 27, 1968 – about 53 years ago. NASA is eager to tout its renaissance of domestic crewed spaceflight, and missions like Crew-1 emphasize both these accomplishments and the extremely long intervals that define American space exploration.

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