August 7, 2020

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SpaceX capsule with astronauts aboard heads back to Earth

Los Angeles: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are headed back to Earth after a two-month mission at the International Space Station, marking the first time a privately owned craft will return astronauts from the space station to Earth.

The crew departed the space station on Saturday afternoon, US time, aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, the same craft that brought them to space in that vessel’s first crewed flight. After leak checks, the astronauts lowered the visors of their helmets, and a command to undock was sent to the spacecraft.

In this image from video made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule separates from the International Space Station.

In this image from video made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule separates from the International Space Station.Credit:AP

Two sets of hooks were disconnected, and then the capsule started to float slowly away from the space station around five minutes later. Several engine thrusters fired to further separate the spacecraft from the space station.

Another five minutes later and all that could be seen of the capsule from the space station view were two dots of light.