NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the Dragon’s commander, said everyone is putting “a lot of emphases” on keeping the area clear this time. I don’t think any of us are too worried in terms of landing on a boat,” he said during a news conference Monday from the International Space Station. Leaking fuel from the capsule’s thrusters could endanger people outside the capsule. A crowd could also hamper SpaceX’s recovery effort.
Hopkins is winding up a six-month mission, U.S. crewmates Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. Their replacements arrived Saturday on their own SpaceX capsule. When Hopkins and his crew launched last November, they hoped to return to a world where COVID-19 held less of a grip than it does. They will go into semi-quarantine for a while, Walker said, to give their space-weakened immune systems time to bounce back.
They’ll roll up their sleeves for their first vaccine shot seven to 10 days after splashdown.
We have enjoyed not wearing masks up here,” Walker said. “And having to go back and wear masks — well, it’s what we will do because that is the right thing to do. The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.