NASA SpaceX Crew-2 Astronauts Conduct First-Ever “Fly Around” From Inside Crew Dragon

Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur monitor data inside Crew Dragon during their return to Earth on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA

Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur monitor data as Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet captures photos of the International Space Station during the first-ever “fly around” of the complex from inside a commercial Crew Dragon. Joined by Mission Specialist Aki Hoshide aboard spacecraft Endeavour after its undocking Monday afternoon, the four crew members departed the station after 197 days there and are in their final hours in space. They are scheduled to splashdown at 10:33 p.m. EST off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Live coverage continues on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Below is a look at the International Space Station as seen from inside Crew Dragon Endeavor.

ISS From Inside Crew Dragon Endeavor

International Space Station as seen from inside Crew Dragon Endeavor. Credit: NASA

Crew-2: Crew Dragon Undocked at 2:05 p.m. EST from International Space Station

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 2:05 p.m. EST to complete a nearly six-month science mission.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour Undocks

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour as it undocks from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Endeavour will conduct a series of burns to perform a fly around maneuver to photograph the exterior of the International Space Station. Once the maneuver is completed, additional engine burns will send the spacecraft out of the vicinity of the station and put the Crew Dragon spacecraft on an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to the path to its intended splashdown off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

Crew Dragon Endeavour will autonomously execute the departure burns to begin the flight home.

The return timeline with approximate times in EST is:

2:32 p.m.                   Fly around zenith to aft burn

2:54 p.m.                   Fly around aft to nadir burn

3:17 p.m.                   Fly around nadir to forward burn

3:39 p.m.                   Fly around forward to zenith burn

4:02 p.m.                   Departure burn 0

4:07 p.m.                   Departure burn 1

4:55 p.m.                   Departure burn 2

5:41 p.m.                   Departure burn 3

9:34 p.m.                   Trunk jettison

9:39 p.m.                   Deorbit burn begins

10:33 p.m.                 Crew Dragon splashdown