SpaceX Makes Rare Nighttime Splashdown With 4 Astronauts 

The four went to space in November 2020 on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a SpaceX vehicle.

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A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed down off Florida carrying four astronauts.
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A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed down off Florida carrying four astronauts back to Earth on Sunday, 2 May, a NASA livestream showed.

Following close to a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the crew reported they were feeling well after their arrival back on Earth, 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, AFP reported.

Night-vision images relayed by NASA's WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft captured the splashdown.

This was the first nighttime splashdown for NASA since 1968, when the crew of Apollo 8 arrived in the Pacific Ocean on 27 December. The Go Navigator recovery ship recovered the capsule and pulled it on to the deck.

Commander Michael Hopkins was the first to emerge after the hatch was opened, 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.

He had earlier tweeted some of his favourite memories aboard the ISS.

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

Glover, 45, selected by NASA in 2013, was on his first spaceflight. He is also the first Black NASA astronaut to be a member of a space station crew.

The four went to space in November 2020 on the first fully operational mission to the ISS aboard a vehicle made by Elon Musk's SpaceX.

(With inputs from AFP)

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