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NASA, SpaceX delay return to Earth for Crew-1 astronauts

The four astronauts of NASA's Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station will return to Earth on their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday (May 1).
The four astronauts of NASA's Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station will return to Earth on their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday (May 1). (Image credit: NASA)

The astronauts of SpaceX's first operational astronaut mission for NASA will have to wait a few more days to return home from the International Space Station due to bad weather at their splashdown site. 

NASA's four Crew-1 astronauts were scheduled to return to Earth Wednesday (April 28) on their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, making a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. But high winds has forced NASA and SpaceX to delay the landing to Saturday (May 1). Splashdown is targeted for 11:36 a.m. EDT (1536 GMT).

"NASA and SpaceX agreed to move Crew-1's undocking and splashdown from Wednesday, April 28, following a review of forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which currently predict wind speeds above the recovery criteria,"  NASA officials said in a statement. "Teams will continue to monitor weather conditions for splashdown ahead of Friday's planned undocking."

In photos: SpaceX's Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station

SpaceX's Crew-1 mission for NASA launched on Nov. 15 to mark the first operational crewed flight on a commercial Crew Dragon spacecraft. It arrived at the station a day later to ferry NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the orbiting laboratory. 

Last week, SpaceX launched its second crew change flight for NASA, called Crew-2, to fly four more astronauts to the station. Those astronauts arrived on Saturday (April 24) as a relief team for the Crew-1 spaceflyers. 

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Resilience is expected to splashdown in one of seven sites off the Atlantic coast of Florida or in the Gulf of Mexico, the exact site is dependent on weather, when it returns the Crew-1 astronauts to Earth. 

With the splashdown delay to Saturday, Resilience will now undock from the space station on Friday (April 30) at 5:55 p.m. EDT (2155 GMT). NASA's live coverage of undocking will begin at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1930 GMT) on Friday and continue through splashdown and a post-landing press conference.

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the Space.com team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.