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SpaceX’s capsule splashes back on Earth astronauts |  Scientific and technological news


Four astronauts landed safely on Earth as their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule splashed off the coast of Florida.

They were recovered from the ocean by a ship after spending more than six months aboard the International Space Station.

Orbiting Earth at an altitude of about 408 km, the astronauts helped conduct hundreds of experiments – but an incident affecting the capsule’s toilet made the 20-hour return trip tricky.

Picture:
The capsule was seen crossing the sky on its return to Earth. Photo: Reuters / @ _ tehgreat

The crew were informed that since the urine storage tank was out of order – with fluid leaking under the floorboards – they should use spatial layers instead.

NASA astronaut Megan McArthur described the situation as “sub-optimal” but manageable last Friday.

“Space flights are filled with many little challenges,” Ms. McArthur said at a press conference from orbit. “This is just one more that we will meet and deal with during our mission. So we are not too worried about that.”

Learn more about the International Space Station

Engineers determined that the capsule had not been structurally compromised by urine and was safe for return.

On the culinary side, the astronauts grew the first peppers in space – “a great boost in morale,” according to McArthur.

They got to taste their harvest last week, adding chunks of green and red peppers to the tacos.

“They have a good spiciness, a little bit of lingering burn,” she said. “Some found it more embarrassing than others.”

SpaceX’s capsule splashes back on Earth astronauts |  Scientific and technological news
Picture:
(LR) Astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough, Akihiko Hoshide and Megan McArthur pose with chili peppers

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet told reporters the past six months have been intense in space.

The astronauts carried out a series of spacewalks to improve the station’s electrical grid, suffered inadvertent thruster fire from docked Russian vehicles which sent the station into brief tours and hosted a film crew. Russian – a space station first.

NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide were also back with Ms. McArthur and Mr. Pesquet.

An American and two Russians remain on the space station after they leave.

Under normal circumstances, a flight with their replacements would arrive first – to share advice on life in space – but Kimbrough said the remaining NASA astronaut would replace the new arrivals.


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