Astronauts splash down safely in SpaceX ‘Dragon’ capsule

Four astronauts have landed safely back on Earth after spending almost half a year aboard the International Space Station. Their SpaceX ‘Dragon’ capsule touched down off the coast of Florida in the first nighttime landing in over 50 years.

It was the first crew mission run by a private company as opposed to NASA. The astronauts, three American and on Japanese, splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico in a rare nighttime landing.

The journey home took only six and a half hours. The mission was part of NASA’s public private partnership with Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX. It’s being viewed as a step closer to achieving commercial space travel in the near future.

SpaceX will launch another mission for NASA later this year, and is also planning its first all-civilian trip to orbit.