A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule, is launched carrying four astronauts on a NASA commercial crew mission to the International Space Station at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 23, 2021.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
The four astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule have returned to earth, splashing down in parachutes landing in the Gulf of Mexico after a record-setting mission to the International Space Station. The astronauts spent more than five months in space, the longest-ever duration for a crew launched in an American-built spacecraft.
NASA’s Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi reached the space station via the Dragon capsule last November.
After undocking from the space station at 8:35 p.m. Saturday, the astronauts traveled through the atmosphere and touched down in Mexico’s Gulf near Panama City, Florida, via parachutes at about 2:57 a.m. ET on Sunday.
“It really could not have been a more flawless journey home for Crew Dragon Resilience,” NASA public affairs officer Leah Cheshier said.
SpaceX mission control welcomed the astronauts with some humor after they touched down: “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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