After eight weeks onboard the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Dough Hurley and Bob Behnken landed safely in the Crew Dragon spacecraft in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Florida, United States.
This was an incredible achievement as it was the first commercially funded mission with two NASA astronauts. SpaceX, the company behind the successful mission was founded by South African born Tesla head, Elon Musk.
The Washington Post reports that it was the first time in the 59-year history of crewed American space travel that astronauts had used the Gulf as a landing site, as well as the first launch of American astronauts to orbit from US soil since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.
The most remarkable first is undoubtedly the fact that the Endeavour’s mission was the first launch into orbit of humans on vehicles owned and operated by a private company.
There was a small delay in opening the hatch when private boats tried to get as close as possible to the floating capsule, the New York Times reports. Toxic propellant fumes could have endangered the people on the private boats. They were directed to move away by the SpaceX boat crew.
Boeing is scheduled to be the next commercial company to fund a NASA mission.
Watch the CNN video below of the historical landing.
Image credit: New York Times and Wired.