SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience, carrying four astronauts back to Earth from the International Space Station, splashed down safely just before 3 a.m. ET on Sunday morning off the coast of Panama City, Florida. It was the first nighttime splashdown for NASA astronauts since the return of Apollo 8 in 1968.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 2, 2021
NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi of Japan’s JAXA are reportedly in “in great shape and great spirits” after spending 168 days orbiting Earth. “For those of you enrolled in our frequent flier program, you have earned 68 million miles on this voyage,” Michael Heiman, a SpaceX mission control official, joked. “We’ll take those miles. Are they transferable?” Hopkins replied.
With their landing the crew successfully completed the first round-trip operational mission for NASA led by a private company. “I’d just like to say quite frankly, you all are changing the world,” Hopkins said as SpaceX personnel prepared to open the side hatch of the capsule.
“On behalf of Crew-1 and our families, we just want to say thank you…It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people come together. Y’all are changing the world. Congratulations. It’s great to be back.” – NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins (@Astro_illini) pic.twitter.com/6Bxpwp79ly
— NASA (@NASA) May 2, 2021