Four astronauts returned to Earth early Monday after a six-month stay on the International Space Station.
Their SpaceX capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida.
Returning are NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoberg, Russia’s Andrei Fedyayev and the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan Neyadi, who was The first person in the Arab world to stay in orbit for an extended period of time.
Before leaving the space station, they said they had been craving hot showers, steaming coffee and ocean air since arriving in March.
Their return was delayed by a day due to bad weather at the splashdown site, but in the end it was a spectacular show as the capsule streaked across the skies over Cape Canaveral towards the splashdown near Jacksonville. Midnight show.
The astronauts said it was unbelievable to be able to come back. “There’s a room full of happy people here,” SpaceX Mission Control said over the radio.
SpaceX launched a replacement a week ago.
Another crew change will take place later this month, with the long-awaited return of two Russians and an American who have been there all year.
Their stay was doubled after the Soyuz capsule leaked all its coolant and a new spacecraft had to be launched.
During crew exchanges, the space station is home to seven astronauts.