Astronauts return to Earth after five months at space station

- Advertisement -

Four space station astronauts returned to Earth after a quick SpaceX flight home.

Their capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coast near Tampa.

The US-Russian-Japanese crew spent five months at the International Space Station, arriving last October.

Besides dodging space junk, the astronauts had to deal with a pair of leaking Russian capsules docked to the orbiting outpost and the urgent delivery of a replacement craft for the station’s other crew members.

Led by Nasa’s Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman to fly in space, the astronauts checked out of the station early Saturday morning.

Less than 19 hours later, their Dragon capsule was bobbing in the sea as they awaited pickup.

Earlier in the week, high wind and waves in the splashdown zones kept them at the station a few extra days.

Their replacements arrived more than a week ago.

Space X Crew Return
The capsule of the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft nears the end of its journey (Keegan Barber/AP)

“We’re happy to be home.”

Ms Mann, a member of Northern California’s Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, said she could not wait to feel the wind on her face, smell fresh grass and enjoy some delicious Earth food.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata craved sushi, while Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina yearned to drink hot tea “from real cup, not from plastic bag”.

Nasa astronaut Josh Cassada’s to-do list included getting a rescue dog for his family.

“Please don’t tell our two cats,” he joked before departing the space station.

SpaceX Crew Return
Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann, second row from left, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata l(John Raoux/AP)

Mr Wakata, Japan’s spaceflight champion, now has logged more than 500 days in space over five missions dating back to Nasa’s shuttle era.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.