Four astronauts who had been aboard the International Space Station for more than five months landed in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday night.
“That was a great trip,” crew leader Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman in space, said over the radio moments after splashdown. “We are happy to be home.”
They left the station early Saturday morning aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance and touched down in the Gulf of Florida off the coast of Tampa 19 hours later.
It was an undramatic end to a mission during which they dodged space debris and dealt with leaking micrometeorite drills to two Russian capsules docked at the station that prompted an emergency delivery of a replacement spacecraft. His return was then delayed for several days due to bad weather in the Gulf.
In the space of an hour, the spacecraft slowed its orbital speed from 17,500 mph to 16 mph before making its soft water landingreported the Orlando Sentinel.
Mann is a Wailacki member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California and said she was looking forward to smelling the grass, getting the wind brushing her face and eating food that didn’t come out of a bag.
Sushi was on the menu for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, while Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina craved hot tea in a “royal cup.” Josh Cassada from NASA was going to get a rescue dog for his family.
The Crew-5 mission was Sixth SpaceX crewed flight under contract with NASA and marked the first time a Russian cosmonaut had flown aboard an American-made spacecraft since NASA’s shuttle program began, according to Florida Today.
with cable news services