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SpaceX capsule with NASA crew safely home

Successful endeavour: SpaceX lands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida after 64 days in space.

Successful endeavour: SpaceX lands in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida after 64 days in space.  

Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to finish an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch as early as next month and possible tourist flights next year.

Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken returned to earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour, less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida. The capsule parachuted into the calm gulf waters about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola.

“Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” said Mission Control from SpaceX headquarters. After medical checkups, the astronauts were flown to Houston.

Mr. Musk had rushed to Houston from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to welcome them. He was clearly moved — and relieved — while addressing the group. “I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one,” he said.

“Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission. Thank you to all!” U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted.

The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 10:58:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/spacex-capsule-with-nasa-crew-safely-home/article32262212.ece

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