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SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are on their way home, splashdown tonight

SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronauts have undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and are on their way home after six months in space.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Aki Hoshide departed the space station at 2:05 p.m ET (11:05 a.m. PT) on Monday, November 8, and are expected to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Florida, at about 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT) on Monday night.

SpaceX and NASA are livestreaming the return journey. You can watch it by hitting the play button on the video player embedded at the top of this page.

They’re also posting tweets documenting the return of the crew.

After a six-month stay, Dragon and the Crew-2 astronauts are set to depart the @space_station today at ~2:00 p.m. ET → https://t.co/bJFjLCilmc pic.twitter.com/fgKtzNztfE

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 8, 2021

Here we can listen to NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who is remaining on the ISS, say his goodbyes to the Crew-2 astronauts as they begin their trip home.

This is what teamwork sounds like.

As @SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour begins its flyaround of the @Space_Station, @Astro_Sabot shares words of farewell for his departing Crew-2 colleagues: pic.twitter.com/nBEAA6aRVa

— NASA (@NASA) November 8, 2021

Here’s the Crew Dragon as seen from the space station shortly after the undocking procedure.

Dragon flying around the @space_station pic.twitter.com/ay5U5EhyNr

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 8, 2021

A series of departure burns sent the spacecraft on a flyaround of the ISS in preparation for the final stages of the journey home.

That's a lap! @SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour has completed its flyaround of the @Space_Station and is in a series of departure burns.

Visit https://t.co/z1RgZwQkWS for continuous coverage. We'll pick up final splashdown coverage live on Twitter ~9:30pm ET (02:30 UTC): pic.twitter.com/tDsx4egvlp

— NASA (@NASA) November 8, 2021

Shortly before departing the space station, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet posted a tweet to celebrate 200 days in space.

200 jours dans l’espace valaient bien 99 photos : voilà une collection des meilleures de toute la #MissionAlpha. Il en reste encore des centaines !
😉
200 days in space deserved a 99 #bestof from the mission. The good news is that there are 100s left to share – more to come! pic.twitter.com/rptTSsAfeX

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 8, 2021

It’s certainly been a busy mission for Pesquet and his crewmates, who have spent the last half year working on countless science experiments while also conducting spacewalks and capturing fabulous imagery from 250 miles above our planet.

At the time of writing, the Crew-2 astronauts are gearing up for a rollercoaster ride through Earth’s atmosphere before a parachute-assisted landing in the ocean.

This is the fourth SpaceX mission to bring astronauts home from space using its Crew Dragon spacecraft. Following years of testing, SpaceX’s first astronaut flight took place in the summer of 2020 when it sent NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the space station, bringing them safely home two months later. Subsequent crewed voyages have included the Crew-1 mission that ran from November 2020 through May 2021, the all-civilian Inspiration4 flight in September 2021, and the current Crew-2 mission.

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