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First Private Astronaut Team Back From International Space Station

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The first completely private team of astronauts to visit the International Space Station landed safely in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida, in the Spacex Crew Dragon capsule.

This completes a two-week scientific mission that is seen as a turning point in commercial space flight.

A Spacex capsule carried a team of four tourists led by a retired NASA astronaut, the current vice-president of the Texas company Axiom Space. They parachuted into the sea after a 16-hour descent, reports Reuters.

The landing had originally been planned for last Wednesday, but the return flight was postponed due to bad weather.

Applause was heard at SpaceX Flight Control Centre in the suburbs of Los Angeles as parachutes opened above the capsule in the final phase of the descent, when it was slowed to about 24 kilometres per hour, and again when the craft hit the water off the Jacksonville coast.

The lifeboat with a crew of three reached the Crew Dragon in a few minutes.

Read more...

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The capsule was hoisted from the sea onto the deck of a larger ship about 40 minutes later and was opened for the astronauts to get out.

Camera footage from inside the capsule showed the four crew members strapped into their seats, dressed in black and white spacesuits and wearing helmets.

Photo: © SpaceX/Axiom Space

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