SpaceX returns 4 astronauts to Earth, ending 200-day flight

Four astronauts aboard SpaceX’s flagship Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Monday night after spending 200 days in space.

The capsule fell into the Gulf of Mexico, just off Pensacola, Fla. and was then recovered by recovery boats.

“On behalf of SpaceX, welcome home to Planet Earth,” SpaceX Mission Control radioed from Southern California.

The astronauts were expected back from the International Space Station on Monday morning — but high winds delayed their homecoming.

Aboard the returned capsule were NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and France’s Thomas Pesquet.

After their capsule burst, the foursome had to change into diapers for the eight hour trip home.

Astronauts in the SpaceX Dragon capsule undock from the International Space Station.
The International Space Station is undocked by astronauts in the SpaceX Dragon capsule.
AP
The "Endeavor" capsule is seen off the side of the International Space Station orbiting Earth.
The “Endeavor” capsule is seen off the side of the International Space Station orbiting Earth.
AFP via Getty Images

McArthur said on Friday that while the situation is certainly “suboptimal,” the crew would manage.

“Spaceflight is full of lots of little challenges,” she said during a news conference from space. “This is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission. So we’re not too worried about it.”

The "Endeavor" capsule lands in the water off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
The “Endeavor” capsule lands in the water off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
AP
The crew of the SpaceX Dragon capsule react after splashing down into the Gulf of Mexico.
After splashing into the Gulf of Mexico, the crew of the SpaceX Dragon capsule reacts.
AP
The "Endeavor" capsule is recovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
The “Endeavor” capsule is recovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
AP

SpaceX will send four more astronauts to space station for a six-month additional stay as soon as Wednesday night.

They will be greeted on their arrival by two Russian and one American astronauts who have remained at the station.

With Post wires

From front left, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide leave the Operation and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
From left to right, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA Astronaut Megan McArthur, NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akihiko Hashide leave the Operation and Checkout Building, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral.
AP

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