MEXICO: The crew, consisting of American, Russian, and Japanese astronauts, spent five months at the International Space Station, arriving in October of the previous year. On Saturday morning, the crew checked out of the station, and less than 19 hours later, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast.
They had to face several challenges, such as maneuvering around debris in space, dealing with two leaking Russian capsules docked at the station, and arranging an urgent delivery of a replacement craft for the station’s other crew members.
NASA astronaut Nicole Mann led the team and became the first Native American woman to fly in space.
Earlier in the week, the crew had to stay a few extra days at the station due to high winds and waves in the splashdown zones. The crew members had various plans for their return to Earth, such as enjoying Earth’s fresh air and food, having sushi, drinking tea from a real cup, and adopting a rescue dog.
The remaining crew members at the station include three Americans, three Russians, and one from the United Arab Emirates.
The Dragon capsule that brought the crew back to Earth was built by SpaceX, a private spaceflight company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk. This was the second crewed mission to the International Space Station conducted by SpaceX in collaboration with NASA.
The first one, called Demo-2, took place in May 2020 and marked the first time that NASA astronauts were launched into space from American soil in almost a decade. The success of these missions has paved the way for more collaborations between private space companies and government space agencies in the future.
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