Four astronauts from four countries return to Earth after six months in orbit

Support teams work around the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft shortly after it landed with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Russia cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov aboard in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

Support teams work around the SpaceX Dragon Endurance spacecraft shortly after it landed with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Russia cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov aboard in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday, March 12, 2024. (Joel Kowsky/NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Four astronauts from four countries caught a lift back to Earth with SpaceX on Tuesday to end a half-year mission at the International Space Station.

Their capsule streaked across the U.S. in the predawn darkness and splashed into the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Panhandle.

NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, a Marine helicopter pilot, led the returning crew of Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and Russia’s Konstantin Borisov.

They moved into the space station last August. Their replacements arrived last week in their own SpaceX capsule.

“We left you some peanut butter and tortillas,” Moghbeli radioed after departing the orbiting complex on Monday. Replied NASA’s Loral O’Hara: “I miss you guys already and thanks for that very generous gift.”

O’Hara has another few weeks at the space station before leaving aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule.

Before leaving the space station, Mogensen said via X, formerly known as Twitter, that he couldn’t wait to hear “birds singing in the trees” and also craved crunchy food.

NASA prefers multiple travel options in case of rocket trouble. Boeing should start providing astronaut taxi service with a two-pilot test flight in early May.

___

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.

AP Top Headlines

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed AP

Trending on NewsNation