SpaceX capsule splashes down off Florida coast, bringing 4 space station astronauts back to Earth

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The splashdown went to plan, marking the end of the crew's 176-day mission and the maiden voyage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

Recovery crews make their way to the Crew Dragon Endurance shortly after the capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico early Friday to close out a 176-day mission., four astronauts plunged back to Earth aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule early Friday, streaking across southern Mexico to an on-target splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico west of Tampa to close out a six-month mission.

Eight minutes later, right on time, the Crew Dragon's four main parachutes unfurled and fully inflated, lowering the capsule to a smooth splashdown at 12:43 a.m. to close out its maiden voyage. The Crew Dragon astronauts smile and wave as SpaceX technicians open the capsule's hatch to help them out of the spacecraft after splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico. Left to right: European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA crewmates Thomas Marshburn, commander Raja Chari and Kayla Barron.All four looked in good shape, smiling and waving to the ship's crew as they were carried inside for initial medical checks.

Left behind in orbit were their replacements - Crew 4 commander Kjell Lindgren, pilot Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti - and three Russian cosmonauts, Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov.

 

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