SpaceX, NASA delay Crew-4 astronaut landing on Dragon Freedom due to weather

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft docked at the International Space Station with black space behind.
SpaceX's Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft is seen docked at the International Space Station's Harmony module. It will return the four Crew-4 astronauts to Earth for NASA and SpaceX after a weather delay. (Image credit: NASA)

A SpaceX crew will have to wait a bit longer to come back home.

NASA had been planning for Crew-4's Dragon capsule, named Freedom, to undock on Thursday (Oct. 13) to deliver four astronauts home from a six-month stay at the International Space Station. But shortly before the capsule would have undocked this morning, NASA once again delayed the procedure, along with Dragon's expected splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean within reach of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, due to weather concerns.

Now NASA is targeting Friday at 11:35 a.m. EDT (1535 GMT) for the undocking, having now waved off opportunities on Wednesday (Oct. 12) and Thursday (Oct. 13) due to weather, officials said on NASA Television Thursday.

Related: Amazing photos of SpaceX's Crew-4 mission

The four astronauts of Crew-4 will remain on the space station until the next undocking opportunity, spending a few extra hours at the orbiting laboratory alongside seven recent arrivals set to spend a few months inside the facility.

NASA evaluates landing site conditions like wave height, winds and other factors to ensure splashdowns occur in safe conditions, the agency has said.

Crew-4 launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 27 and arrived at the ISS the same day. The mission comprises the European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA astronauts Robert Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica Watkins.

Crew-4 is the fourth contracted astronaut mission that SpaceX has flown to the orbiting complex for NASA. It's one of two SpaceX astronaut flights currently at the ISS; Crew-5 arrived on Oct. 6 for a five-month stay.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. Elizabeth's reporting includes an exclusive with Office of the Vice-President of the United States, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and (soon) a Bachelor of History from Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace