Successful Completion of the SpaceX Crew-5 Mission: A Historic Milestone in Space Exploration

On March 11, 2023, the SpaceX Crew-5 mission came to a successful end when the four astronauts aboard the Dragon Endurance spacecraft splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida.[0] This marked the end of a 157 day mission for the crew, who had launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on October 5, 2022.[1]

The Crew-5 mission was historic for several reasons, with Nicole Mann of NASA becoming the first Native American woman in space, and cosmonaut Anna Kikina of Roscosmos becoming the first Russian to fly on a private American spacecraft.[2] Additionally, the mission marked Koichi Wakata's fifth spaceflight, giving him a Japanese record with a cumulative 500 days spent in orbit.[3] Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina were replaced by the Crew-6 mission, which launched on March 3, 2023.

The Crew-6 mission includes NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.[4] They arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, March 3. Meanwhile, three astronauts — cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio — are scheduled to ride home on a Soyuz spacecraft that was sent to the station empty.[5]

The Crew-5 astronauts conducted over 200 experiments during their time in space, and also performed six spacewalks.[6] During the handover period from Crew-5 to Crew-6, there were 11 crew members aboard the station, along with three on the Chinese Tiangong space station, for a total of 14 human beings in orbit.[7]

The Crew-5 mission was a major success, and marks a milestone in the SpaceX Commercial Crew Program contract, which restored American access to crewed spaceflight after nearly a decade without the space shuttle.[8] The Crew-6 mission is expected to come to a close in late summer, while the Soyuz MS-22/23 crew is scheduled to return to Earth in September.[1]

0. “Splashdown! NASA SpaceX Crew-5 Safely Returns to Earth” SciTechDaily, 12 Mar. 2023,

1. “‘One heck of a ride!’ Crew-5 astronauts, cosmonaut back on Earth” SpaceFlight Insider, 12 Mar. 2023,

2. “NASA SpaceX crew splashes down after 5-month mission” CNA, 12 Mar. 2023,

3. “Koichi Wakata returns after record 5th space mission by Japanese astronaut” Kyodo News Plus, 12 Mar. 2023,

4. “Nasa's SpaceX Crew-5 splashdown: Four-person spacecraft return to Earth| Watch” Hindustan Times, 12 Mar. 2023,

5. “SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down with Crew-5 astronauts after 157 days in space”, 12 Mar. 2023,

6. “SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts hope to leave space station March 9 as NASA watches weather”, 8 Mar. 2023,

7. “Crew Dragon Endurance returns to Earth on Crew-5 mission –”, 12 Mar. 2023,

8. “SpaceX capsule docks at space station with multinational crew – Spaceflight Now” Spaceflight Now, 3 Mar. 2023,

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