SpaceX mission – Nasa astronauts return to Earth in historic first ‘splashdown’ in 45 years

TWO Nasa astronauts have arrived back on Earth in a historic first "splashdown" in 45 years.

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – who were sent from space back to Florida, despite Tropical Storm Isaias threatening the Sunshine State – arrived home at 2.48pm ET on Sunday.



The splashdown – which is the first for SpaceX with astronauts on board – took place in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the astronauts made their return – aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, dubbed Endeavour – four parachutes were captured on video being deployed.

Footage was shared to NASA's Twitter page of their "recovery teams approaching the @SpaceX Dragon capsule and gathering the parachutes in the water."

About six minutes after splash, President Donald Trump shared a celebratory tweet.

Trump wrote: "Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission. Thank you to all!"




Vice President Mike Pence also expressed his excitement to Twitter, writing: "Welcome home, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug!

"Congratulations on a successful and historic mission to the @Space_Station. Thanks to your service, the United States has ushered in a new era of human space exploration!"

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule spacecraft went from an orbital speed of 17,500 mph to 350mph as it reentered the atmosphere.

The spacecraft hit the water at 15mph.

The Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday.


The ISS confirmed on Twitter Saturday that the Endeavour undocked at 7.35pm ET "to complete a two-month mission."

"Two very small engine burns separated @SpaceX Endeavour from the station," the account posted.

"The spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return @AstroBehnken & @Astro_Doug
safely to Earth for splashdown on Sunday. "

Earlier on Saturday, Nasa announced that weather conditions were a "go" for them to undock and to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

Hurley and Behnken first launched into space on May 30 from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida — the first launch of a crew from the US in close to a decade.

The SpaceX capsule had been docked at the ISS since May 31, which has allowed the US astronauts to help out with spacewalks and experiments.

Isaias is currently a tropical storm and has already caused high winds and flash floods in Puerto Rico as well as damaging property in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

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