ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A fireball could light up the skies of several states on Monday evening as a Space X capsule re-enters the atmosphere.
According to Gulfport’s Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC), Space X’s Crew Dragon capsule will splash off the coast of Florida around 9:30 p.m. CST, resulting in a possible fireball and loud sonic boom.
While the intended target for the water landing is in the Pensacola area, the remains of the fireball can be seen in many states. The forecast over the Gulf of Mexico calls for clear skies, reports The New York Times, so the landing should be easy to see.
Four astronauts are aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Their return to Earth will close a six-month mission to the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and Frenchman Thomas Pesquet should have been back on Monday morning, but high winds in the recovery area delayed their return.
“One more night with this magical view. Who could complain? I will miss our spaceship! Pesquet tweeted alongside a brief video showing the space station illuminated in the darkness of space and the twinkling city lights on the night side of Earth.
It was not the most comfortable return. Their capsule toilets were broken, so the astronauts had to rely on diapers for the eight-hour trip home. They shrugged their shoulders at the end of last week as one more challenge in their mission.
The first problem arose shortly after their April takeoff; Mission control warned that a piece of space debris threatened to collide with their capsule. It turned out to be a false alarm. Then, in July, thrusters from a newly arrived Russian lab inadvertently fired and sent the station into a spin. The four astronauts took refuge in their docked SpaceX capsule, ready to make a hasty departure if necessary.
Among the optimistic milestones: four spacewalks to improve the station’s solar power, a cinematic tour of a Russian film crew and the first-ever space harvest of chillies. Their 200-day mission began last April.
This is the second of six NASA and SpaceX crewed missions that are part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which works with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on rockets and spacecraft. spacecraft from American soil.
You can watch the Crew Dragon landing below:
The next mission, called Crew-3, was scheduled to take off last weekend but was delayed by weather issues and then a “minor medical issue” with one of the astronauts. Its launch is now scheduled for this Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.