SpaceX brings 4 astronauts home with midnight splashdown

MIAMI: SpaceX sent four astronauts home with a midnight crash in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, the busiest month limit for Elon MuskTaxi’s service.
Three US astronauts and a German in the capsule are bobbing off the coast of Florida, near Tampa, less than 24 hours after leaving International Space Station. Nasa expected to have them back in Houston tomorrow morning.
Nasa’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency, hug the seven remaining astronauts at the station, before parting.
“End of a six-month mission, but I think the space dream continues,” Maurer said.
SpaceX launched its replacement American and Italian planes last week, after completing a charter trip to the terminal for a trio of businessmen.
This equates to two crew launches and two crashes within a month.
Musk’s company has now put 26 people into orbit in less than two years, since it started ferrying astronauts to Nasa. Eight of those 26 are space tourists.
The newly returned astronauts said their mission was underscored by three tourists and their former astronaut escort who stopped by in April, opening up the Nasa side of the station to drop off passengers after decades resistance century.
Down below, they face a dangerous increase in space junk after Russia blew up a satellite during a rocket test in mid-November.
More than 1,500 shrapnel scattered throughout The earthits orbit for many years to come.
While the war in Ukraine caused tension between the US and Russia, the cosmonauts sided with their Russian comrades, and vice versa. Flight operators in Houston and Moscow also continued to cooperate as usual, according to NASA officials.
In relinquishing command of the space station earlier this week, Marshburn called it “a place of peace” and said international cooperation could be its lasting legacy.
Russia’s new commander Oleg Artemyev also emphasized “peace among our nations, our friendship” in orbit and described his comrades as brothers and sisters.
Currently there are three Russians, three Americans and one Italian.
It was Marshburn’s third spaceflight, and the first for all three to return with him.
Chari and Barron’s next stop could be the moon; they were among 18 US astronauts selected for NASA’s Artemis moon landing program. Two other members of that elite group are currently at the space station.

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