Washington. After spending almost six months in space, three American and one German astronauts returned to Earth this Friday aboard a SpaceX capsule, which splashed down off the coast of Florida.
The Dragon capsule, carrying Americans Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, as well as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, separated from the International Space Station (ISS) and after 23 hours travel landed at 04:43 GMT.
“On behalf of the entire SpaceX team, welcome home,” said an official from the US company.
The crew, called Crew-3, spent their last days on board the ISS carrying out the transfer with Crew-4, also made up of four astronauts (three Americans and one Italian).
The latter took off from Florida a week ago, with SpaceX.
Also on the ISS there are three Russians, who arrived with a Soyuz rocket.
It was the sixth splashdown for a crewed Dragon capsule from SpaceX, which regularly transports astronauts to the ISS at NASA’s request.
Matthias Maurer is the twelfth German astronaut in space. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wished him on Twitter “a good trip back” and highlighted “all the new discoveries made in space”.
The members of Crew-3 performed multiple scientific experiments. For example, they studied how cement hardens in weightless conditions, which could be important for future construction, such as on the Moon.
And they made the second harvest of peppers aboard the station.
During their stay, they were also visited by a private mission, made up of three businessmen who had each paid tens of millions of dollars to spend two weeks aboard the ISS. They traveled with SpaceX.
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