Sat, 19 Sep 2020

Two American astronauts using the SpaceX Crew Dragon shuttle to return from the International space station have landed safely in Florida. It's the first time a private company has been used to transport Nasa astronauts, who in the past relied on Russian shuttles.

On Sunday evening, Nasa astronauts Bob Behnken et Doug Hurley - who spent two months at the International Space Station (ISS) - landed smoothly in the Golf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida.

Their impressive re-entry into the atmosphere with a descent speed reaching 28,000 kilometres per hour was cushioned by four large parachutes.

The flight to and from the ISS was a success for the private SpaceX company, founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has invested some three billion dollars in the ambitious project.

Since 2012, SpaceX has trasported only cargo for Nasa, and this mission was the first time the Crew Dragon was used to transport humans.

Nasa has signed a contract to use the Crew Dragon shuttle to replace the Russian Soyuz shuttles used in the past.

Among passengers on future flights, France's Thomas Pesquet, who will take off in March 2021 from Cap Canaveral in Florida.

Orginally published on RFI

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