The hatch of the Crew Dragon Freedom shuttle that brings astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, of the European Space Agency (ESA), and her three crewmates Crew 4, Americans Nasa Bob Hines, Kjell Lindgren and Jessica to Earth has been closed. Watkins.
The detachment of the shuttle from the International Space Station is scheduled at 5:35 pm and the journey to Earth will last just over seven hours, with landing at 10.50 pm in the Atlantic Ocean, off Jacksonville (Florida).
After wearing the black and white suits typical of the crews of the Crew Dragon shuttles, the astronauts of the Crew 4 crew greeted with kisses and hugs the seven colleagues who will remain on the Space Station.
So Samantha Cristoforetti and Jessica Watkins closed the hatch of the Crew Dragon Freedom shuttle, hooked to Node 2 (Zenith) of the ISS;
then they took their places at the two ends of the row of the four seats of the SpaceX shuttle, in the center of which sit the commander of the Crew 4 Kjell Lindgren and the pilot Bob Hines.
Immediately afterwards, the depressurization operations began, necessary to ensure that the shuttle releases slowly and safely from the orbital station.