US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon, splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month voyage that was Nasa’s first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.
Behnken and Hurley, tallying 64 days in space, undocked from the station on Saturday and returned home to land their capsule in calm waters off Florida’s Pensacola coast on schedule at 2:48pm ET following a 21-hour overnight journey aboard Crew Dragon “Endeavour”.
“This has been quite an odyssey,” Hurley told senior Nasa and SpaceX officials at a homecoming ceremony at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. “To be where we are now, the first crewed flight of Dragon, is just unbelievable.”
The successful splash-down, the first of its kind by Nasa in 45 years, was a final test of whether SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk’s spacecraft can transport astronauts to and from orbit — a feat no private company has accomplished before.
Header Photo: Nasa astronaut Robert Behnken gives a thumbs up to onlookers as he boards a plane at Naval Air Station Pensacola to return him and Nasa astronaut Douglas Hurley home to Houston a few hours after the duo landed in their SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. — AP