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

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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 splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., and the astronauts were then picked up 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.

The quartet faced a minor hiccup in the last leg of their mission when they were forced to wear diapers for the eight-hour trip home after the toilet in their capsule broke.

Astronauts in the SpaceX Dragon capsule undock from the International Space Station.
Astronauts in the SpaceX Dragon capsule undock from the International Space Station.
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.
The crew of the SpaceX Dragon capsule react after splashing down into the Gulf of Mexico.
AP
The "Endeavor" capsule is recovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
The “Endeavor” capsule is recovered in the Gulf of Mexico.
AP

As early as Wednesday night, SpaceX will now launch four more astronauts to the space station for another six-month stay.

They will be greeted by one American and two Russian astronauts who remained on 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 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.
AP

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