An international crew of four astronauts returned to Earth late Saturday after spending 157 days in orbit aboard the International Space Station.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina landed aboard SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance capsule in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coast near Tampa.
The Crew-5 astronauts completed 2,512 orbits after arriving at the space station last October.
In addition to dodging space debris, the astronauts also had to deal with two leaky Russian capsules docked at the orbiting outpost and the urgent delivery of a replacement ship for the station’s other crew members.
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The return journey took about 19 hours before the capsule reentered Earth’s atmosphere and parachuted off the coast of Tampa around 9 p.m
“That was one hell of a ride,” radioed Mann, who led the mission and is the first Native American woman to fly into space after landing safely. “We’re glad to be home.”
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SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission was the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada, and Kikina. Wakata, Japan’s space travel champion, has now completed more than 500 days in space across five missions dating back to NASA’s shuttle era.
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Three Americans, three Russians and one from the United Arab Emirates remain on the space station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.