Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley returned back to Earth safely aboard the Dragon spacecraft of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, National Aeronautics and Space Administration has reported. Dragon splashed down, suspended by parachutes, in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon local time.
“It’s a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was quoted as saying. “Partners are key to how we go farther than ever before and take the next steps on daring missions to the Moon and Mars.”
The astronauts had been at the International Space Station since May 31. They spent 64 days in space, completed 1,024 orbits around Earth and travelled 27,147,284 statute miles, the report added.
Behnken’s and Hurley’s splashdown was the first in 45 years, after Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1975, at the end of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.