SpaceX capsule brings astronauts back down to Earth after long mission

Cape Canaveral, Florida - A SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts splashed down off the coast of Florida in the early hours of Friday, ending a six-month mission at the International Space Station (ISS).

From l. to r.: Astronauts Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron.
From l. to r.: Astronauts Matthias Maurer, Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron.  © via REUTERS

NASA's Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, along with German astronaut Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency, arrived back on Earth about 24 hours after undocking from the station.

The Crew Dragon capsule could be seen streaking across the night sky before four parachutes were deployed to slow down the spacecraft's re-entry.

"Splashdown of Dragon confirmed – welcome back to Earth," SpaceX tweeted.

The astronauts had been living in space since November 2021, conducting science experiments and making observations. They also had a close call during their stay, as the ISS was forced to pull emergency evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with space debris towards the end of April.

Elon Musk's SpaceX began flying crews to and from the space station in 2020.

SpaceX brought four astronauts – three from the US and one from Italy – to the human outpost last week to replace the four that returned on Friday.

Cover photo: via REUTERS

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