SpaceX returned four astronauts from the International Space Station early Sunday, executing the first U.S. crew splashdown in the darkness since Apollo 8 .
The Dragon capsule gently parachuted down into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Panama City Florida into the Gulf of Mexico just before 3 a.m. It wrapped the second astronaut mission for Elon Musk’s company.
The return trip to Earth, lasted just 6.5 hours.
The three American and one Japanese astronaut, returned to Earth in Resilience, the same capsule in which they flew to the ISS last November, launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
The astronauts and the launch company were in high spirits following the safe return.
“We welcome you back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” SpaceX’s Mission Control radioed moments after splashdown. “For those of you enrolled in our frequent flyer program, you’ve earned 68 million miles on this voyage.”
“We’ll take those miles,” said spacecraft commander Mike Hopkins. “Are they transferrable?”
Read more at NASA.gov.