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Four SpaceX astronauts return home from the International Space Station, ending a 5-month mission

The space station’s four astronauts returned to Earth late Saturday after a quick SpaceX flight home.

Their capsule splashed into the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Florida near Tampa.

The American-Russian-Japanese crew spent five months at International Space Station, arrived in October last year. Besides dodging space junk, the astronauts also have to deal with a pair of leaked Russian capsules docked in an orbiting outpost and the emergency transfer of a replacement vessel for crew members. other of the station.

Led by NASA’s Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman in space, the astronauts checked out early Saturday morning. Less than 19 hours later, their Dragon capsule was floating in the sea as they awaited.

At the beginning of the week, high winds and high waves in the pouring areas forced them to stay at the station for a few more days. Their replacement arrived over a week ago.

“It was a bad ride,” Mann said on the radio shortly after falling into the water. “We are happy to be home.”

Mann, a member of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indians in Northern California, said she can’t wait to feel the breeze in her face, smell the fresh grass and enjoy some delicious food. Earth food.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata craves sushi, while Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina craves hot tea “from a real cup, not from a plastic bag”.

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada’s to-do list includes buying a rescue dog for his family. “Please don’t tell our two cats,” he joked before leaving the space station.

The remaining people at the space station are three Americans, three Russians and one from the United Arab Emirates.

Wakata, Japan’s spaceflight champion, has now spent more than 500 days in space in five missions dating back to NASA’s space shuttle.

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