NASA's SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at ISS

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Four astronauts onboard the ISS were due to return from the orbiting laboratory on April 30. However, poor weather conditions off the coast of Florida put an end to the plans, with the two US space forces pushing the launch back by over 24 hours. Now, the astronauts – NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – will return in the early hours of Sunday morning.

How can I watch the event?

NASA will be hosting a live stream of the event on its own NASA TV, which can be accessed through the space agency’s website.

The quartet of space travellers will return in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft called Resilience.

Elon Musk’s astro-taxi service will undock from the ISS at 8.35pm EDT today (1.35am BST on May 2) – with the live stream kicking off two hours before.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/alKUv1APOx0

SpaceX will also be hosting its own live stream, which has been embedded into this page, and begins 15 minutes before launch.

They are due to return to Earth “no earlier” than 2.57am EDT (7.57am BST) on May 2.

When they finally return to our planet, they will touchdown on the coast of Florida, where NASA predicts “ideal conditions”.

The space agency said: “The Crew Dragon will undock autonomously and depart from the space station with the capability to splash down at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

“Resilience also will return to Earth important and time-sensitive research.

“The NASA and SpaceX teams select a primary and alternate splashdown location from the seven possible landing locations about two days prior to return, factoring in weather, crew rescue, and recovery operations.

“Additional decision milestones take place prior to undocking, during free flight, and before Crew Dragon performs the deorbit burn.

“NASA and SpaceX closely coordinate with the US Coast Guard to establish a 10-nautical-mile safety zone around the expected splashdown location to ensure safety for the public and for those involved in the recovery operations, as well as the crew aboard the returning spacecraft.”

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Resilience has been attached to the ISS for just over a week.

SpaceX launched four astronauts – NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet – there on April 23.

Since then, 11 astronauts have been onboard the ISS.

This may have led to cramped conditions in the orbiting laboratory, as there is usually an average of six humans on the ISS.

However, the maximum onboard the ISS at any given time was 13, coming in 2011.

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