SpaceX, NASA delay return to Earth of Crew-2 astronauts on Dragon spaceship

Before leaving the International Space Station, the four astronauts from NASA and SpaceX's Crew-2 mission pose in their Crew Dragon Endeavour. They are: Thomas Pesquet, an ESA astronaut; Megan McArthur, a NASA astronaut; Shane Kimbrough, a NASA astronaut (back right); Akihiko Hashide (JAXA).
SpaceX and NASA delayed the return of four astronauts from the International Space Station to Earth to Monday, Nov. 8, due to weather conditions at their splashdown site.

SpaceX's Crew-2 mission astronauts will now depart the space station Monday afternoon at 2 :05 p.m. ET (1905 GMT), a day late than originally planned, and will splash down on the Florida coast at 10 :33 p.m. ET (0333 GMT). It will be live on and NASA TV.

The astronauts had previously planned to leave the station Sunday afternoon in order to splash down Monday morning. The astronauts will now need to wait another day before they can make the trip. NASA officials released a statement late Saturday saying that mission teams had decided to change the Sunday, Nov. 7 undocking due to high winds making it difficult for recovery in the Gulf of Mexico.

SpaceX Crew-2 and Crew-3 live updates

SpaceX Crew-2 will bring back NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur and Akihiko Hoshide from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to Earth. It will also include Thomas Pesquet from the European Space Agency. They will have been in space for 199 days when they return from the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon Endeavour will splash down at one of seven target sites off Florida's coast, either in the Gulf of Mexico (or the Atlantic Ocean). NASA officials said that SpaceX and NASA will choose a primary and an alternate site shortly before landing. NASA officials stated that they will not announce the final splashdown site selection until after landing because of safety concerns.

NASA officials released a statement saying that SpaceX and NASA closely coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard in order to create a safety zone around splashdown site to ensure safety for public, recovery personnel, and crew on the returning spacecraft. This safety protocol was necessary after private boats invaded SpaceX's first crewed spacecraft during its August 2020 recovery operation for Demo-2.

Crew-2 is SpaceX's third spaceflight of humans for NASA. It's also the second of six crewed missions SpaceX has launched under a multibillion dollar contract with NASA's Commercial Crew program. Crew-3 is the company's next crewed mission for NASA. It will be a four-person mission. Crew-2 was delayed due to bad weather and minor medical issues with one of its crewmembers.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled to launch from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, November 10. Liftoff is scheduled for 9:03 PM EST (0403 GMT).

Crew-3 will send NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn as well as Kayla Barron, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer, an European Space Agency astronaut, on a six month mission to the International Space Station.

Tariq Malik can be reached at, or on Twitter @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom on Facebook and Instagram.