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Four astronauts return to Earth in SpaceX capsule to wrap up six-month station mission

Four astronauts return to Earth in SpaceX capsule to wrap up six-month station mission

By Marcia Dunn | Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Four astronauts returned to Earth early Monday after a six-month stay at the International Space Station.

Their SpaceX capsule parachuted into the Atlantic off the Florida coast.

Returning were NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, Russia’s Andrei Fedyaev and the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan al-Neyadi, t he first person from the Arab world to spend an extended time in orbit.

Before departing the space station, they said they were craving hot showers, steaming cups of coffee and the ocean air since arriving in March. Their homecoming was delayed a day because of poor weather at the splashdown locations.

SpaceX launched their replacements over a week ago.

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Another crew switch will occur later this month with the long-awaited homecoming of two Russians and one American who have been up there an entire year. Their stay was doubled after their Soyuz capsule leaked all of its coolant and a new craft had to be launched.

Between crew swaps, the space station is home to seven astronauts.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.