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SpaceX Dragon Astronauts Safely Back On Earth After Florida Splashdown

2 August 2020. ABC News: The first NASA-SpaceX astronauts have safely returned to Earth after more than two months in space, splashing down near Pensacola, Florida, at 2:48 p.m. ET.

At 3:17 p.m. ET, Dragon Endeavour was lifted out of the water. Engineers then conducted a purge of vapor fumes around the spacecraft.

At 3:59 p.m. ET, the hatch was opened to allow a NASA flight surgeon to check in on astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

The men were taken out of the spacecraft at 4:07 p.m. and 4:11 p.m., prompting a round of applause at mission control.

“You’re just hoping and praying that everything is going well, and of course when you get that first acquisition of signal, it’s a time we can all breathe a sigh of relief,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told ABC News.

“It has gone as flawlessly as it could possibly have gone,” he said.

Hurley and Behnken, whose mission began on May 30, undocked from the International Space Station at about 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday to head back to Earth.

Stakes were high as the astronauts only had 48 hours of oxygen in their capsule after undocking.

Crew Dragon Endeavour’s deorbit burn commenced at 1:56 p.m. ET Sunday and was completed at about 2:13 p.m. ET.

At about 2:36 p.m. ET, a communications blackout began and the Dragon went fully autonomous. The blackout lasted about four minutes.

The weather conditions appeared “great” for the parachute splashdown, tweeted Bridenstine.

A recovery boat with several dozen crew members waited in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday for the astronauts.

Once the astronauts reach the port in Pensacola, they will board the NASA Gulfstream and head to Houston for a ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base.

Behnken said Friday he was most excited to see his family and his 6-year-old son, saying, “He’s changed a lot in the couple of months that we’ve been up here.”

On Sunday morning Hurley and Behnken woke up to a message from their children who were all excited for their return.

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