Two American astronauts who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule are now safely back on Earth, ending their historic two-month mission.
The space capsule carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon local time, following a 21-hour journey after departing the ISS.
It was also the first water landing by U.S. astronauts since the final Apollo moon mission 45 years ago, and an accomplishment no private company has ever achieved.
The capsule started from orbital speed of 28-thousand kilometers an hour but slowed down to just 24 kilometers an hour at splash down.
After splashing down, the capsule was hoisted aboard a recovery ship, and the two astronauts were checked by doctors before being flown ashore by helicopter.
"This has been a quite an odyssey, the last five 5, 6, 7, 8 years. Five years since Bob and I started working on this program, and to be where we are now, the first crude flight of Dragon, is just unbelievable."
"I think we're both super, super proud, to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those space flights back to the Florida coast, and bringing that capability back to America."
The successful end to the crew's mission clears the path for another SpaceX crew launch, possibly in the coming months, and maybe even tourist flights from next year.
President Trump also congratulated NASA and SpaceX on the astronauts' safe return, calling the mission "very successful".
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.