Four astronauts returned home from SpaceX, ending 5-month mission Pipa News

Four astronauts returned home from SpaceX, ending 5-month mission

Four space station astronauts are back on Earth after a quick SpaceX flight home

ByMarcia Dunn AP Aerospace Writer

Cape Canaveral, Fla. , Four space station astronauts returned to Earth late Saturday after a quick SpaceX flight home.

His capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast near Tampa.

The American-Russian-Japanese team spent five months aboard the International Space Station last October. In addition to dodging space junk, the astronauts had to deal with a pair of leaking Russian capsules docked to the orbiting outpost and the immediate delivery of a replacement craft for the station’s other crew members.

Led by NASA’s Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman to fly in space, astronauts checked out of the station Saturday morning. Less than 19 hours later, their Dragon capsule was bobbing in the ocean as they waited for pickup.

Early in the week, strong wind and waves in the splashdown zone kept them on station for a few additional days. Their replacements had arrived more than a week earlier.

“That was one heck of a ride,” Mann radioed after the splashdown. “We’re happy to be home.”

Mann, a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California’s Velaki, said she can’t wait to feel the wind on her face, smell the fresh grass and enjoy some delicious earthy food.

Japanese cosmonaut Koichi Wakata longed for sushi, while Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina longed to “drink hot tea from a real cup, not a plastic bag.”

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada’s to-do list includes a rescue dog for his family. “Please don’t tell our two cats,” he joked before leaving the space station.

The three Americans staying behind on the space station are three Russians and one from the United Arab Emirates.

Japan’s spaceflight champion Wakata has now logged more than 500 days in space in five missions from NASA’s shuttle era.

___ The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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