SpaceX crew makes first splashdown landing in 45 years

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth Sunday in the first splashdown landing by the U.S. in 45 years.

Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode the SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station two months ago. Less than a day after leaving it, the capsule safely parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola.

“Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” the company’s Mission Control said.

The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew to launch early next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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