NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have safely returned to Earth after being injected into the SpaceX CrewX capsule in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Florida at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 2nd.
The couple, returning from a two-month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS), were met by a rescue ship crew shortly after landing in the water, with a photographer taking a picture of Behnken and Hurley who were still in position just before the couple were helped out of the capsule.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley can be seen in the Crew Dragon just minutes after the hosing down. NASA
Both astronauts smiled and showed their thumbs up after the journey home that started on Saturday. After Behnken and Hurley were flown back ashore by the salvage ship, they are medically examined before being reunited with their families.
Seconds after the spray, Mission Control said, "Welcome back to planet Earth, and thank you for flying SpaceX." Hurley replied, "It is really our honor and privilege."
The demo 2 test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program was the first to deliver astronauts to the ISS and bring them safely back to Earth aboard a commercially built and operated spacecraft. It was the first launch and first landing of astronauts on US soil (and water!). since the last space shuttle mission in 2011.
The mission is another important step for SpaceX as the reusable space transportation system is being developed for more cost-effective missions. The crew capsule is now being cleaned and thoroughly checked before being used for another mission – Crew-1 – scheduled for September 2020.