NASA Astronauts Safely Splash Down in the Gulf of MexicoBy José Escobedo | Wed, 08/05/2020 - 13:00
This past weekend, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon made a historic splash down under parachutes in the Gulf of Mexico, returning to Earth after the first commercial flight from the International Space Station. Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley made contact in the waters off the coast of Pensacola, Florida and soon after the spacecraft was recovered by SpaceX and brought aboard the recovery ship Go Navigator.
The flight is definitely historic because for the first time, two astronauts traveled to Earth in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft. The astronauts spent 62 days in the International Space Station and completed a test flight that marks a new era in human spaceflight, reported NASA officials.
“Welcome home, Bob and Doug! Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams for the incredible work to make this test flight possible,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “It is a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible. Partners are key to how we go farther than ever before and take the next steps on daring missions to the Moon and Mars.”
NASA officials said that Behnken and Hurley’s return was the first splashdown for American astronauts since Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald “Deke” Slayton landed in the waters off the coast of Hawaii on July 24, 1975, once they completed the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.
“On behalf of all SpaceX employees, thank you to NASA for the opportunity to return human spaceflight to the US by flying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley,” said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. “Congratulations to the entire SpaceX and NASA team on such an extraordinary mission. We could not be more proud to see Bob and Doug safely back home—we all appreciate their dedication to this mission and helping us start the journey towards carrying people regularly to low Earth orbit and on to the Moon and Mars. And I really hope they enjoyed the ride!”
While at the International Space Station, Behnken and Hurley participated in various scientific experiments, spacewalks and public engagement events. In total, the astronauts spent 64 days in orbit, completed 1,024 orbits around Earth and traveled 27,147,284 statute miles, reported NASA.