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SpaceX's first crewed operational mission is about to come to an end. NASA expects the Crew-1 mission to start its return to Earth today (May 1st) at 8:35PM Eastern, and you can tune in live at NASA TV (below) to watch the historic conclusion. Be ready for a late night if you're on the East coast, however. While the International Space Station undocking starts in the evening, the Crew Dragon capsule isn't expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico until May 2nd at 2:57AM.
Crew-1 was originally supposed to land April 30th, but faced two delays due to weather at potential landing sites. Astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Soichi Noguchi (of JAXA) and Shannon Walker have spent roughly half a year in orbit aboard the ISS.
This should be an important moment for SpaceX, which only just launched its Crew-2 mission days earlier. It's symbolically important for NASA, too. The agency noted that this is the first nighttime splashdown for a US-crewed spacecraft since Apollo 8 on December 27th, 1968 — roughly 53 years ago. NASA is eager to tout its revival of domestic crewed spaceflight, and missions like Crew-1 emphasize both those accomplishments and the agonizingly long intervals that define American space exploration.