First Photo Of NASA Astronauts Back On Earth After Historic SpaceX Splashdown

It marks the first time in a decade that human spaceflight will launch from United States soil.

By Rick Gonzales | Published

Heroic astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have returned from their historic mission into space on the first ever commercial spaceflight. Their SpaceX capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2, 2020 at 2:48 pm. Millions watched the splashdown and below is the first ever photo of Bob and Doug back on Earth.

The photo was taken by the crew of the recovery vessel sent to retrieve them, out floating on the water of the Gulf. Bob and Doug are currently receiving detailed medical examinations before they’ll be returned to their families.

Their words after returning to Earth were broadcast back to mission control as: “Welcome back to Planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX,” from Bob. Doug then added: “It’s truly our honor and privilege.”

This marks the completion of the first US launch and return of astronauts since the final Space Shuttle mission in 2011.

SpaceX owner Elon Musk had this to say after their safe return to Earth…

Below is the full story of how Bob and Doug’s flight made history.

SpaceX And NASA Astronauts Dock With Space Station, First Ever Commercial Flight!

SpaceX Launch

SpaceX made history. The historic launch of the Crew Dragon Capsule while carrying NASA astronauts was a complete success. That same capsule successfully docked with the international space station and heroic astronauts Bob and Doug went aboard. Here’s the scene as they arrived…

And here’s the Crew Dragon completing its docking maneuver to connect with the ISS…

And this was their view of the International Space Station as they approached…

This was the first time NASA astronauts, or any human for that matter, has flown to space aboard a commercially built spacecraft. It has been almost ten years since NASA retired the space shuttle fleet, in 2011.

Spacex launch

The Falcon 9 rocket launched at 3:22pm EDT. Everything went off perfectly, including the multi-stage separation in space, shown below.

Watch SpaceX and NASA make history in the video below…

The launch took place at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, on the same launch pad the historic Apollo missions launched from. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon taking the ride up to the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon
SpaceX Crew Dragon And Falcon 9 Rocket

Here’s video of the astronauts strapped in and ready to go…

Below the astronauts arrive at the launch pad…

Below the two-astronaut crew of the Crew Dragon capsule emerges to take the trip to the launchpad…

You can watch the two astronauts suit up in their space suits in the video below…

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a news briefing, “Our country has been through a lot. But this is a unique moment when all of America can take a moment and look at our country do something stunning again, and that is to launch American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil to the space station.

Hurley and Behnken will first orbit the Earth for around 19 hours. They will then hook up with the space station. If the launch goes today as hoped, we can expect the astronauts to meet up with the space station later. History is being made and America is back in space.

On Wednesday May 27th, SpaceX was supposed to launch their first human astronaut crew into space in what would not only be a first for the space program but would mark the first time in a decade that human spaceflight will launch from United States soil.

Unfortunately with just a little over fifteen minutes left on the countdown clock, NASA and SpaceX agreed to cancel the launch due to inclimate weather. The launch was then rescheduled for Saturday May 30th at 3:22 pm EDT.

A Big Moment

Elon Musk

This is truly a big deal not only for NASA, but for SpaceX founder Elon Musk and the American public. Ever since NASA shuttered the shuttle, they have been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to take astronauts up and back to the International Space Station. This venture has become more and more pricey and has also limited US access to the space station.

“This is a culmination of a dream,” Elon Musk told CBS This Morning. “This is a dream come true. In fact, it feels surreal. If you’d asked me when starting SpaceX if this would happen, I’d be like, 1 percent chance, 0.1 percent chance.” So, for Musk, it is a dream turning into reality. A very expensive dream worth every penny. And while one might appreciate Musk and the way he goes about his business, how he runs his business, or even how he’s handled his personal life, you can deny his desire to make this happen for America.

Well Wishes From The Captain

William Shatner sent the brave NASA astronauts his well wishes. Here’s his video to them…

It’s worth noting that NASA has had a long connection with Star Trek. The first ever Space Shuttle was named Enterprise in honor of Captain Kirk’s iconic fictional spacecraft.