This week’s anticipated homecoming of four astronauts from the International Space Station, which would have concluded their almost six-month mission in space, has been postponed due to bad weather at the crew’s splashdown location. The group of astronauts, including Italian Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency and NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, were slated to leave the space station on Thursday morning in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. However, due to the bad weather back on Earth, NASA was obliged to postpone the launch.
Thunderstorms are anticipated to affect the southern part of Florida on Thursday afternoon. According to CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett, the storms are anticipated to move further south tomorrow, clearing up more of Florida, but winds will be stronger in the northern Gulf Coast.
Currently, NASA and SpaceX are looking into more possible undocking chances. Friday at 11:35 a.m. ET is the crew’s next possible departure time, according to a spokesman on NASA’s webcast. Extremely frequent delays in spacecraft leaving or returning from the ISS are caused by weather, particularly when unpredictably strong storms hit the launch and landing locations off the coast of Florida.
The seven prospective landing sites in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico just off the coasts of Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona, and Jacksonville are part of the Crew Dragon spacecraft that will return the men to Earth.
Which splashdown site NASA and SpaceX will use on Friday is not yet known. Jessica Watkins became the first Black woman to join the space station crew for a sustained period of time on this mission, known as Crew-4.
Since Guion Bluford became the first Black American to travel to space in 1983, more than a dozen Black Americans have done so, including five Black women. More than 250 astronauts have been housed on the ISS since 2000, but until recently, no Black woman had the chance to live and work in space for an extended period of time.