NATIONAL NEWS

SpaceX ferries astronauts back to Earth after half-year away

Oct 14, 2022, 3:24 PM
In this handout image provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft is seen as it lan...
In this handout image provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft is seen as it lands with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard, in the Atlantic Ocean on October 14, 2022, off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti are returning after 170 days in space as part of Expeditions 67 and 68 aboard the International Space Station. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Four astronauts returned to Earth in a SpaceX capsule Friday, ending their nearly six-month space station mission with a splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida.

Wet and windy weather across Florida delayed their homecoming. SpaceX and NASA finally gave the all-clear on Friday, and the three Americans and one Italian departed the International Space Station, their residence since April.

The capsule parachuted into the ocean, just off Jacksonville, Florida, about five hours after it left the space station. It carried NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and Jessica Watkins, the first Black woman to complete a long-term spaceflight, and the European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti. SpaceX delivered their replacements last week.

Before checking out, the astronauts said they couldn’t wait to have a cold drink with ice, eat some pizza and ice cream, take a shower, revel in nature and, of course, reunite with their families. NASA planned to hustle them to Houston once they were off SpaceX’s recovery ship and back on solid ground.

“Getting the first few hugs when we get back is really going to be awesome,” Hines told reporters earlier in the week.

Remaining aboard the space station are three Americans, three Russians and one Japanese.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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SpaceX ferries astronauts back to Earth after half-year away