Right on-schedule with a picture-perfect splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico, American astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have returned from their voyage to the International Space Station .
On May 30 at 3:22:45 pm ET, SpaceX made history by carrying Behnken and Hurley to space atop its Falcon 9 rocket in their Crew Dragon spacecraft. After a successful launch from NASA Kennedy Space Center on the “space coast” of Florida, the spacecraft had a smooth journey to the ISS, conducting spacecraft tests along the way. This was the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 that astronauts were lifted into space from American soil. It’s also the first time a private company, SpaceX, brought astronauts to space.
And now Behnken and Hurley have safely returned to Earth, splashing down into the Gulf of Mexico off the Pensacola coast. SpaceX is able to bring the Crew Dragon spacecraft down in either the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. Due to Tropical Storm Isaias, initial plans to land in the Atlantic shifted to the Gulf.
For now, SpaceX is under contract to fly six “post-certification missions” of shuttling crew back/forth to the ISS through the mid-2020s.