On Wednesday, October 12, at 7:05 p.m. EDT, Crew-4 was supposed to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) and start their return to Earth. The departure for home was postponed due to bad weather in the splashdown zones; a new scheduled undocking is set for Thursday, October 13 at 10:05 a.m. The trip back to Earth has been postponed yet another day due to persistent weather problems. Since April 27, Crew-4 has been residing on board the ISS.
The Crew-4 crew will now attempt to depart from the International Space Station (ISS) no sooner than 11:35 a.m. EDT. This will mark the end of their nearly six-month science mission in orbit. A few hours later, at around 4:50 p.m., Splashdown is aimed off the coast of Florida.
On Thursday, October 13, a cold front crossing through Florida produced strong winds and rainy weather close to the splashdown zones off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which mission teams continued to watch. Due to a high-pressure system lurking behind the cold front, current weather forecasts indicate higher forecast certainty for Friday. More favourable conditions for splashdown and recovery are anticipated as a result. With another weather check scheduled for about eight hours before undocking, NASA and SpaceX will continue to watch splashdown and recovery circumstances. Teams will assess several options for opportunity to undock on Friday and Saturday.
Crew-4’s Dragon undocking is influenced by a number of variables, such as weather, sea conditions, spacecraft readiness, recovery team preparedness, and others. While tethered to the orbiting lab at the moment, Dragon Freedom is still in good condition. Along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, NASA astronauts Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren, and Jessica Watkins will be live-streaming the planned return operations for the Crew-4 mission. On NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency website, coverage of Dragon’s hatch shutting, undocking, and splashdown will be broadcast live. An audio-only post-splashdown news teleconference will also be held by NASA.