KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – After several delays due to weather, four private astronauts undocked from the International Space Station Sunday and are en route back to Earth with a planned splashdown off the coast of Florida on Monday.
Kathy Lueders, NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate, announced Saturday that NASA had shifted the departure to Sunday evening from the International Space Station.
"We now are targeting 8:55 p.m. ET Sun., April 24, for [Ax-1] undocking from the Space Station due to high winds at the splashdown site," she said in a tweet.
Re-watch the splashdown live stream below:
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft undocked from the ISS just before 9 p.m. Sunday beginning the four private astronauts' journey back to Earth.
The splashdown is estimated to be at 1:06 p.m. on Monday off the coast of Jacksonville. SpaceX, NASA and Axiom Space team members will be there to recover the spacecraft and help the new astronauts out of their ride.
Boaters are asked to stay clear of the landing zone and not approach the spacecraft.
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The weather has continued to delay the Axiom Mission. NASA and SpaceX have seven possible landing sites for the Dragon, but the weather conditions must be favorable for the capsule and for the recovery teams. Forecasters look at the wind, wave height and other factors before selecting the final landing location.
On Monday, wave heights are expected to be less than 3 feet and the wind around 8 mph in the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville.
SpaceX launched the four private space explorers in the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center on April 8. The flight was the first mission for Axiom Space's private space program in which people pay around $55 million each to fly to the ISS. Axiom Space Vice President and former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria led the mission with paying customers Larry Connor, Mark Pathy and Eytan Stibbe.
Lueders said that at this time, there is no impact on Crew-4's Wednesday, April 27, launch date.