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SpaceX Show: Astronauts splash down, satellites launch from Cape Canaveral

SpaceX Private Crew
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Four astronauts who spent nearly six months aboard the International Space Station returned safely to earth Friday morning. The Crew Dragon “Endurance” spacecraft entered the earth’s atmosphere just before midnight and splashed down at 12:43 AM in the Gulf of Mexico just west of Tampa. Crew-3 commander Raja Chari thanked mission controllers for the ‘great ride’ on the ship’s maiden flight and said he looked forward to seeing the reusable spacecraft fly more missions. The four crewmembers were recovered from the floating spacecraft by SpaceX boats and will be brought via jet to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Across the coast, a predawn Falcon-9 launch from the Kennedy Space Center put on quite the show in the skies over South Florida.

The glowing plume from the rocket launch could be seen across Palm Beach and Broward counties. Onboard was another batch of Starlink internet satellites, destined to join the growing constellation that will help bring web access to remote areas.