SpaceX Brings 4 Astronauts Home With Midnight Splashdown

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SpaceX brought four astronauts home with a midnight splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, capping the busiest month yet for Elon Musk’s taxi service.

That amounts to two crew launches and two splashdowns in barely a month. Musk’s company has now launched 26 people into orbit in less than two years since it started ferrying astronauts for NASA. Eight of those 26 were space tourists.

On the downside, they had to contend with a dangerous spike in space junk after Russia blew up a satellite in a missile test in mid-November. More than 1,500 pieces of shrapnel spread across Earth's orbit for years to come. Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov handed over command of the International Space Station to NASA's Thomas Marshburn before returning to Earth on Wednesday.

 

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