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NASA astronauts aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule splash down in the Gulf of Mexico

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken splashed down off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., on Aug. 2, completing the first manned mission of NASA’s commercial crew. (Video: NASA)

They’re home.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley completed a fiery, high-speed journey back from the International Space Station on Sunday, splashing down in calm Gulf of Mexico waters off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., hundreds of miles from a churning Tropical Storm Isaias in the Atlantic in a triumphal denouement to a historic mission.

It was the first time in the 59-year history of crewed American space travel that astronauts had used the Gulf as a landing site, adding to other firsts that marked a new chapter in NASA’s human spaceflight program: the first launch of American astronauts to orbit from U.S. soil since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011 and the first launch into orbit of humans on vehicles owned and operated by a private company.

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