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SpaceX Crew Dragon makes historic splashdown off Florida

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-03 03:01

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are seen aboard SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, August 2, 2020, in this screen grab taken from a video. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON -- The SpaceX Crew Dragon "Endeavour" spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts parachuted to a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida on Sunday, completing a two-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft splashed down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:48 pm EDT (1848 GMT) Sunday.

The weather conditions appeared "great" for the parachute splashdown, tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

The SpaceX recovery vessel GO Navigator was waiting at the landing zone. The recovery teams have reached the SpaceX Dragon capsule and gathered the parachutes in the water.

The recovery teams are preparing to open the hatch to retrieve NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, according to NASA live broadcast.

The astronauts are expected to get out of the capsule within an hour after the splashdown.

The return began at 7:35 pm EDT Saturday, when the Crew Dragon spacecraft autonomously undocked from the ISS Harmony module.

After an approximately 19-hour return journey, the spacecraft began deorbit burn at 1:56 pm EDT Sunday, and deployed four main parachutes.

The return of the test flight with the two astronauts from the ISS marks the first splashdown of an American crew spacecraft in 45 years, said NASA.

It also wrapped up the test flight for the first commercially owned and operated crewed spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

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