Reactions from Locals: SpaceX Reentry and Splashdown near Daytona Coast – Press Stories

Axiom Space 3 Astronauts Safely Splash Down in Atlantic Ocean

The Axiom Space 3 (Ax-3) astronauts, aboard the SpaceX Dragon Freedom capsule, successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean offshore from Daytona Beach on Friday morning. This marked the safe return of the four astronauts after spending approximately 21 days in space.

However, their return was not without some excitement for residents near the beachside. Some Volusia County residents reported hearing a sonic boom caused by the spacecraft reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. Witnesses, such as Joe Connor from Beachside Cafe in Ormond Beach, described the loud boom and how people in the restaurant were initially confused about the source of the sound.

Jennifer Feuer, a volunteer at the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, also heard the boom and mentioned that it was louder than usual due to the proximity to the ocean. Amy Tobias, another volunteer at the center, shared her experience of hearing the boom while driving and later finding out that people ahead of her had gathered to watch the reentry.

The SpaceX Dragon capsule completed its deorbit burn at 7:55 a.m., initiating the process of returning to Earth. It then began deploying parachutes before finally splashing down at 8:30 a.m., according to official reports.

The four astronauts aboard the capsule during this mission were Commander López-Alegría, Alper Gezeravcı, Marcus Wandt, and Walter Villadei. Throughout their journey, they endured peak temperatures of approximately 3,500 degrees during reentry, with top speeds reaching 17,500 mph. This demonstrates the resilience of the capsule’s heat shield, which is crucial for the safety of astronauts returning to Earth.

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SpaceX strategically chose various splashdown locations off the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, to maximize return opportunities and minimize weather-related cancellations. To ensure the safety of the returning astronauts, Coast Guard patrol boats were deployed to discourage boaters from entering the designated splashdown zones.

Overall, the safe return of the Ax-3 astronauts is a testament to the success of SpaceX’s collaboration with NASA and the continuous advancements in space exploration. With each mission, more data and experience are gained, furthering our understanding of space and paving the way for future expeditions.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

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