The four Crew-1 astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico right on schedule early Sunday, returning to Earth after a six-month stay on the International Space Station.
The astronauts — three Americans and one from Japan — had undocked from the station at 8:35 p.m. Saturday, flew through the atmosphere, and then touched down in the Gulf of Mexico under four massive parachutes at about 2:57 a.m. ET Sunday.
The return mission appeared to go flawlessly from start to finish. The autonomous SpaceX Dragon spacecraft fired its engines on schedule to slow it down enough to pull it out of orbit and into the atmosphere. Within an hour of splashdown, the capsule had lifted aboard a recovery ship. The four astronauts had disembarked, to be flown first to Florida aboard a helicopter and then aboard a NASA plane to Houston.
“It really could not have been a more flawless journey home for Crew Dragon Resilience,” said NASA public affairs officer Leah Cheshier.
Once the crew splashed down, SpaceX mission control had some fun with the astronauts: “We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX. For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you’ve earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”
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