Now back, space station astronauts remember the sight, a fit, and the chili peppers they grew – .

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Now back, space station astronauts remember the sight, a fit, and the chili peppers they grew – .


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NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough smiles after NASA and SpaceX personnel helped him exit the Dragon capsule on November 8. Photo by Aubrey Gemignani / NASA | License photo

Nov. 15 (UPI) – NASA’s Crew-2 astronauts enjoyed spectacular sights, camaraderie and fresh chillies grown in microgravity, but they also encountered difficult spacewalks and crisis when part of the International Space Station took off. malfunctioned, the four space travelers said on a conference call Monday.

Astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet gave their first press conference Monday morning since their November 8 splash in the Gulf of Mexico a week ago.

Their capsule, the Crew Dragon Endeavor, landed under parachutes off Pensacola, Fla., After spending six months in the space station.

The landing was very different from that of a space shuttle or a Russian ground capsule, said Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

“The landing was much smoother. I would say I was worried after a floating water landing on the ocean surface, but I think it was fine for all of us, ”he said.

Hoshide also praised the launch into orbit aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“The launch and landing itself was like any other spacecraft, but it went smoothly and I think it was more responsive. That’s what I remember going up, ”he said. “You know, the acceleration, the deceleration, it was like a ride, and we were all smiling and laughing. “

Crew-2 astronauts have traveled 84.6 million miles in their 199 days in orbit, circling the Earth 3,194 times. The duration of the mission set a record for an American-made spacecraft.

The crew conducted a hundred science experiments, such as growing and consuming red peppers successfully in microgravity.

Astronauts previously grew simpler plants, like lettuce or radishes, which don’t require pollination and grow faster than peppers, McArthur said.

“There is a huge benefit to growing something like peppers, not just the flavor and the chili peppers to eat, but the vitamins as well,” she said.

Seeing the brilliant aurora, or aurora borealis, from space was another highlight, said Pesquet of the European Space Agency.

“It’s sad because the photos we share just don’t do them justice,” he said. “To fly right above our heads is to cross the dawn. I think this is the most amazing natural phenomenon you can see with your own eyes. “

The four astronauts performed spacewalks to connect new solar panels outside the space station, which involved traveling the longest distances outside the airlocks, Pesquet said.

“We jokingly called it the ‘Wild West’ of the space station because it was all the way where no one ever goes. There are fewer handrails to grab… it’s a really tough environment. “

The crew experienced an unexpected crisis on July 29 when a newcomer to the orbiting facility, the Russian science module Nauka, fired its thrusters by mistake and flipped the station about 1 1/2 times.

Russian space agency Roscosmos was able to correct the problem quickly, but those on board had to take emergency action, Kimbrough said. In the end, no one was injured and there does not appear to be any permanent damage to the space station.

“When the alarms went off, we immediately reported to the US lab and Aki [Akihiko Hoshide], the commander at the time, began to give us roles and responsibilities to respond to the situation, ”said Kimbrough.

“Everyone kind of aligned with our training and just started reacting, with their leadership. “

The four astronauts go through a series of debriefings, including health assessments, he said.

From left to right, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide are seen inside the spacecraft SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor aboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after touching down in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, Fla. on November 8. Photo by Aubrey Gemignani / NASA | License photo



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