US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, who flew to the Worldwide House Station in SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon, splashed down within the capsule within the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month voyage that was Nasa’s first crewed mission from residence soil in 9 years.

Behnken and Hurley left the station on Saturday and returned residence to land within the waves off Florida’s Pensacola coast on schedule at 2.48pm ET following a 21-hour in a single day journey aboard Crew Dragon “Endeavor.”

The profitable splashdown, the primary of its type by NASA in 45 years, was a ultimate key check of whether or not Elon Musk’s spacecraft can transport astronauts to and from orbit – a feat no non-public firm has ever achieved earlier than.

The SpaceX capsule is lifted onto a ship



The SpaceX capsule is lifted onto a ship {Photograph}: AP

“On behalf of the SpaceX and Nasa groups, welcome again to Planet Earth. Thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX mission management stated upon splashdown.

Spectators in non-public boats surrounded the splashdown website dozens of miles from shore as SpaceX and NASA restoration groups used a crane to hoist the spacecraft out of the water and onto a ship.

“Thanks for doing probably the most tough elements and an important elements of human spaceflight – getting us into orbit and bringing us residence,” Behnken advised SpaceX mission management in Hawthorne, California, because the hatch door was opened.

“I’m simply proud to be a small a part of this entire effort to get an organization and folks to and from the house station,” Hurley stated, giving a thumbs up as he was wheeled out of the spacecraft on a stretcher – a standard process as astronauts alter to Earth’s gravity.

For the return sequence, on-board thrusters and two units of parachutes labored autonomously to gradual the acorn-shaped capsule, bringing Behnken and Hurley’s velocity of 17,500 miles per hour in orbit right down to 350mph upon atmospheric re-entry, and ultimately 15mph at splashdown.

Throughout re-entry to Earth’s ambiance, the capsule’s outer shell withstood temperatures as excessive as 3,500F whereas Behnken and Hurley, sporting SpaceX’s white flight fits strapped contained in the cabin, skilled 85F .

The pair have been on account of endure medical checks onshore in Pensacola forward of a flight to Nasa’s Johnson House Middle in Houston, Texas.

Nasa astronauts Bob Behnken (L) and Doug Hurley participating in a fully integrated test of SpaceX Crew Dragon flight hardware at Cape Canaveral



Nasa astronauts Bob Behnken (L) and Doug Hurley taking part in a completely built-in check of SpaceX Crew Dragon flight {hardware} at Cape Canaveral {Photograph}: Spacex Handout/EPA

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX turned the primary non-public firm to ship people to orbit with the launch of Behnken and Hurley, who spent greater than two months on the house station.

The landmark mission, launched from Nasa’s Kennedy House Middle on 31 Might, marked the primary time the U.S. house company launched people from American soil since its shuttle program retired in 2011. Since then america has relied on Russia’s house program to launch its astronauts to the house station.

Behnken and Hurley undocked from the house station late on Saturday and commenced step by step lowering their orbital altitude in a single day, awaking Sunday morning to recorded wake-up calls from their sons.

“Good morning Dragon Endeavor,” Hurley’s son stated in a recorded message despatched to the capsule. “I’m pleased you went into house however I’m even happier that you simply’re coming again residence.”

Nasa officers have stated Crew Dragon, a pod with seven astronaut seats, was in a “very wholesome” situation whereas docked on the house station, the place astronauts performed checks and monitored how the spacecraft performs in house.

Nasa, aiming to provoke a business house market, awarded almost $eight billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling house capsules, experimenting with a contract mannequin that permits the house company to purchase astronaut seats from the 2 firms.

“Nice to have Nasa Astronauts return to Earth after very profitable two month mission,” President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to all!”