ISTANBUL (AA): SpaceX’s four-member international crew successfully returned to Earth on Saturday after spending over five months in space, US space agency NASA said on Sunday.
The Crew-5’s Dragon spacecraft splashed down off the coast of Tampa, Florida after spending 157 days in orbit, NASA said in a statement on its website.
“NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 9:02 p.m. EST,” the statement said.
“Welcome home, Crew-5! This international crew has been conducting critical science experiments and technology demonstrations on the International Space Station that will help prepare us for future deep space missions and pave the way for our return to the Moon,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was quoted as saying in the statement.
“Each advancement these explorers make is not an achievement for one, but a giant leap for all of humanity,” Nelson added.
Last October, a Falcon 9 rocket launched the Crew-5 mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Around 17 hours later Dragon capsule anchored to the Harmony module’s forward-facing port. On Saturday morning, the crew disembarked from the same port to start the voyage back home.
The astronauts “traveled 66,577,531 miles during their mission, spent 156,5 days aboard the space station, and completed 2,512 orbits around Earth,” it said. “The Crew-5 mission was the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina. Wakata has logged 505 days in space over his five flights.”