Astronauts from Nasa’s Space X Crew 5 mission landed in their Dragon Endurance spacecraft in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa around 2 a.m. this morning (Image: NASA)
Four NASA astronauts have landed back on Earth after nearly six months on the International Space Station.
Crew members from NASA’s Space X Crew 5 mission in their Dragon Endurance spacecraft landed in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa at around 2am UK time (9pm local time) this morning.
The Crew-5 mission launched on the Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida last October.
The crew — consisting of NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina — spent 156.5 days aboard the space station, completing 2,512 Earth orbits and laying doing 66,577,531 miles back mission.
Ms Mann, who led the mission, said it was good to be back after a delay in returning home earlier in the week due to strong winds and waves in the splash zones.
Shortly after splashing down, she radioed, “That was a damn good trip.
“We’re glad to be home.”
Ms Mann said she can’t wait to feel the wind on her face, smell fresh grass and enjoy delicious earth food.
The four astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are back on Earth. (Image: NASA)
Mr Wakata craved sushi, while Ms Kikina craved to drink hot tea “from a real mug, not a plastic bag”.
Getting a rescue dog for his family was on NASA astronaut Josh Cassada’s to-do list.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was among the first to welcome the crew home and provide an insight into their time in space.
Mr Nelson said: “Welcome home, Crew-5!
“This international crew has conducted important science experiments and technology demonstrations on the International Space Station that will help us prepare for future space missions and pave the way for our return to the moon.
“Every advance made by these researchers is not an achievement for an individual, but a giant leap for all of humanity.”
During their mission, the Crew-5 team contributed to a variety of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations.
They performed spacewalks, tested techniques for growing crops without using soil, unleashed the first satellites of Uganda and Zimbabwe, and grew dwarf tomatoes, among other things.
The astronauts also had to deal with two leaking Russian capsules docked at the orbiting outpost and the urgent delivery of a replacement vehicle for the station’s other crew members.
Three Americans, three Russians and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates remain on the space station.