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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020
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Splashdown! Nasa astronauts safely return to Earth after historic SpaceX mission

The capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at the expected time of 7.48pm.

Updated Sun 7:56 PM

Source: NASA/YouTube

TWO NASA ASTRONAUTS have safely returned to Earth down following a 19-hour journey from the International Space Station. 

Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at the expected time of 7.48pm Irish time. 

The pair returned to Earth on board the SpaceX capsule, making it the first time in 45 years that Nasa astronauts have returned to earth via splashdown.   

The capsule left ISS at 12.34 am this morning to begin its re-entry to Earth. 

On entering the Earth’s atmosphere, the Crew Dragon withstood temperatures of some 1,900C as before deploying four parachutes to slow its speed to a safe descent. 

The last time astronauts made an ocean landing was on July 1975 during an Apollo mission.

Since then, spacemen have always landed on terra firma, using Nasa’s Space Shuttle or the Russian space agency’s Soyuz capsules.

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Tropical storm Isaias approaching Florida had threatened to put the mission hold but Nasa has decided it is safe to proceed. 

Nasa and SpaceX teams are now making their way to the capsule off the coast of Pensacola to take them to show. 

The pair blasted off from Florida on 30 May, marking the first time a private company brought astronauts to space and the first time in a decade astronauts launched from US soil. 

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Rónán Duffy

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