CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – Mission accomplished! Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth Sunday in the first U.S. splashdown in 45 years.
With their SpaceX capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico, pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken returned to Earth.
They’d been working at the International Space Station for two months.
The mission was a historic one. The astronauts were the first to leave U.S. soil since NASA retired the shuttle fleet in 2011.
“I think we’re both super, super proud to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those space flights back to the Florida coast and bringing that capability back to America,” said Behnken.
The scheduled splashdown off the coast of Florida was complicated by Tropical Storm Isaias, brewing off in the Atlantic.
“I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Musk, who is now officially the first owner of a private company to launch people into orbit, said Sunday was an achievement of humanity.
“I think this is one of those things that is universally good no matter where you are on planet Earth. This is a good thing. And I hope it brightens your day,” he said.
SpaceX now has plans to collaborate with NASA on astronaut flights to the moon and then Mars.