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Four astronauts return to Earth with SpaceX after half-year mission at ISS

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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.

From left, Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mohgensen, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa. The quartet splashed down off the coast of Florida on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, completing a six-and-a-half-month space research mission. (NASA via AP)(AP)
From left, Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mohgensen, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa. The quartet splashed down off the coast of Florida on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, completing a six-and-a-half-month space research mission. (NASA via AP)(AP)

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

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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.

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“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.

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Before leaving the space station, Mogensen said via X, formerly 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.

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