“Astronauts Return to Earth in Epic Splashdown After 5 Months in Space aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon”

Crew-5 Astronauts Safely Return to Earth After Nearly Six Month Mission

After 157 days in space, the Crew-5 astronauts have made their return to Earth. The spacecraft, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last November, landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida on Sunday evening.

The four astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet — were all in good health and in high spirits following their long space mission.

The returning astronauts spent much of their time aboard the International Space Station, performing experiments and maintenance tasks. They also enjoyed some downtime, including conducting a spacewalk on Feb. 28 and watching the Super Bowl onboard.

The return trip was not without its challenges, however. High winds and waves made the landing more difficult than planned, but the Crew Dragon spacecraft and its parachutes performed as expected and delivered the astronauts safely back to Earth.

The successful landing marks the completion of SpaceX’s first operational mission for NASA, and the company’s fifth crewed flight overall. It also paves the way for future spacesuit upgrades and improvements to the spacecraft’s propulsion system.

As the astronauts undergo a medical examination and readjust to life on Earth, NASA and SpaceX are already gearing up for the next crewed mission, set to launch later this month. The Crew-6 mission will feature four new astronauts, including NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Megan McArthur, who will become the first woman to command a crewed spacecraft on a mission to the space station.