The Columbus Dispatch

Four astronauts fly Spacex back home


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Four space station astronauts returned to Earth late Saturday after a quick Spacex flight home.

Their capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coast near Tampa.

The U.s.-russian-japanese crew spent five months at the Internatio­nal Space Station, arriving last October. Besides dodging space junk, the astronauts had to deal with a pair of leaking Russian capsules docked to the orbiting outpost and the urgent delivery of a replacemen­t craft for the station’s other crew members.

Led by NASA’S Nicole Mann, the first Native American woman to fly in space, the astronauts checked out of the station early Saturday morning. Less than 19 hours later, their Dragon capsule was bobbing in the sea as they awaited pickup.

Earlier in the week, high wind and waves in the splashdown zones kept them at the station a few extra days. Their replacemen­ts arrived more than a week ago.

“That was one heck of a ride,” Mann radioed moments after splashdown. “We’re happy to be home.”

Mann, a member of Northern California’s Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, said she couldn’t wait to feel the wind on her face, smell fresh grass and enjoy some delicious Earth food.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata craved sushi, while Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina yearned to drink hot tea “from real cup, not from plastic bag.”

NASA astronaut Josh Cassada’s todo list included getting a rescue dog for his family.

“Please don’t tell our two cats,” he joked before departing the space station.

Remaining behind at the space station are three Americans, three Russians and one from the United Arab Emirates.

Wakata, Japan’s spacefligh­t champion, now has logged more than 500 days in space over five missions dating back to NASA’S shuttle era.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educationa­l Media Group. The AP is solely responsibl­e for all content.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States