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NASA astronauts splash down in the ocean after 6-month space mission

Four astronauts splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean early Monday following six months aboard the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts splash down in the ocean after 6-month space mission
Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 04, 2023

Four of Earth's own have returned home after a journey to outer space.

The astronauts from NASA's SpaceX Crew-6 splashed down into the Atlantic off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, early Monday morning, crossing the finish line of a six-month excursion to the International Space Station.

Just after midnight, the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour capsule carrying the crew could be seen streaking across the southeastern U.S. sky, following a slight delay due to poor weather at the landing location. They splashed down at 12:17 a.m. and were taken to shore, where they will next fly to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA said.

The returning crew consisted of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan al-Neyad.

This was the first spaceflight for all but Bowen, who has logged 227 days in space over four flights, NASA said. 

During this mission, they spent 184 days aboard the ISS, traveled 78,875,292 miles and completed 2,976 orbits around Earth, NASA said. 

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"This international crew represented three nations, but together they demonstrated humanity's shared ambition to reach new cosmic shores," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. "The contributions of Crew-6 will help prepare NASA to return to the Moon under Artemis, continue onward to Mars, and improve life here on Earth."

The crew prepared and installed new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays to help the station generate power. They also contributed to hundreds of experiments, including studying plant genetic adaptations and monitoring human health while in microgravity. They also released a new satellite that tests for radiation.

This was NASA's sixth commercial crew rotation mission to the ISS and the fourth flight for the Dragon. The Dragon had just docked with the ISS on Aug. 27 with the four-person Crew-7 team, which follows the newly returned astronauts in carrying out the science expedition.

Later this month, there will be another crew switch to bring home an American and two Russian astronauts who will have been in space for a year. 

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