is back Four astronauts from the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX capsule called the Crew Dragon, landing in the Gulf of Mexico nearly six months after they arrived at the orbital laboratory in November last year as the first long-term operational crew under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soishi Noguchi boarded SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and set off from the space station on time to begin their approximately six-hour return journey to the United States.
And NASA said: The crew fell off the coast of Panama City, Florida, which marked the first night landing of a manned American spacecraft since December 1968, when Apollo 8 fell in the Pacific Ocean.
The SpaceX Mission Control Center told the crew upon its fall: On behalf of NASA and the SpaceX teams, we welcome the Crew Dragon capsule back to Earth.
The night landing of the Crew Dragon capsule in the Gulf of Mexico was seen live via infrared cameras.
The rescue speedboats raced towards the space capsule moments after its fall to ensure the Crew Dragon parachutes detached upon hitting the water, as planned, so that the capsule was not turned upside down in the water.
A SpaceX rescue ship arrived shortly after to raise the Crew Dragon on a platform using a crane.
The four astronauts exited the capsule with the help of paramedics, before returning to the shore to board a NASA plane returning to the space agency headquarters in Houston, Texas.
The astronauts blasted off into space from Florida in November, and stayed about 167 days on board the space station, which is a science laboratory that orbits the Earth at an altitude of 250 miles above the Earth’s surface, and has consistently hosted international astronaut crews for more than two decades.
The return of the astronauts was initially set for Wednesday, April 28, but the flight was delayed due to high winds.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Resilience, was the second capsule from SpaceX to fly humans after SpaceX’s first manned mission, Demo-2, in May 2020.
Resilience broke the record for the longest time a US spacecraft had contacted the International Space Station, surpassing the 84 days recorded by the Skylab 4 crew in 1974.
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