ISS Astronauts splash down off Florida on SpaceX craft : The Astronauts return to Earth in NASA's first time ocean landing in more than 50 years.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying four astronauts back to Earth splashed down off Florida early Sunday in NASA's first nighttime ocean landing in more than 50 years.

The crew reported they were feeling well after their arrival back on Earth following a nearly six month mission aboard the International Space Station, NASA said.

The capsule splashed down at 2:56 am [0656 GMT] in the dark in the Gulf of Mexico off Panama City after a six-and-a-half hour flight from the ISS, night vision images relayed by NASA's WB-57 high altitude research aircraft showed.

Teams aboard the Go Navigator recovery ship retrieved the capsule and hoisted it onto the deck about half an hour later. It was the first nighttime splashdown for NASA since the crew of Apollo arrived in the Pacific Ocean on December 27, 1968.

Commander Michael Hopkins was the first to emerge after the hatch was opened, doing a little jig as he set foot on the deck, followed shortly after by fellow NASA astronaut Victor Glover.

''On behalf of Crew-1 and our families, we just want to say thank you..... It's amazing what can be accomplished when people come together. Y'all are changing the world. Congratulations. It's great to be back,'' Hopkins said in a NASA tweet.

NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Japan's Soichi Noguchi were the other two aboard.

''Welcome home Victor, Michael, Shannon, and Soichi, and congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their safe and successful splashdown,'' said new NASA administrator Bill Nelson.

''We've accomplished another incredible spaceflight for America and our commercial and international partners. Safe, reliable transportation to the International Space Station is exactly the vision NASA had when the agency embarked on the commercial crew program.'' [AFP]


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