After spending more than 160 days in space, the astronauts from the International Space Station were brought back by the company SpaceX.
The latter made the trip aboard the Crew Dragon capsule, which arrived in the sea off Florida overnight from Saturday to Sunday.
This was the first regular mission to be taken and then returned from the ISS by billionaire Elon Musk's company.
“At one point, I was just saying to myself, breathe.
Because I felt very heavy, ”said the American Victor Glover, one of the four astronauts of the crew called Crew-1.
“Kind of like those cartoon characters when they're faced with the g-force (acceleration), and their faces twist down.
"Landing in the water was interesting, because none of us knew what to expect," said American Shannon Walker.
“From my point of view, it was a bit smoother than arriving on land.
"Take off and return are such unique experiences"
"I expected it to be such a test that finally when it happened for real, it was a little less than I imagined", added Victor Glover during a conference of hurry. The weight of the acceleration was concentrated "in the chest", he described, "which made it difficult to breathe." But “taking off and coming back are such unique experiences,” he said. "The impact was really minimal and just after the landing, you could feel the waves," said the Japanese Soichi Noguchi. “We're coming back to the blue planet (…), it's a great feeling. "
NASA has contracted with SpaceX to be able to start launching astronauts into space again from American soil, which had not been possible since 2011 with the end of space shuttles.
Until now, they were forced to board Russian Soyuz vessels, which land on dry land.
Soon tourists in space
Soon, professional non-astronaut civilians will take their places in Dragon, for space tourism missions.
The astronauts were asked: will these ordinary men be able to cope with re-entry into the atmosphere in this vehicle?
“I think they can take it just as well,” said American Mike Hopkins.
The latter was the first to raise his hand when asked if they would be ready to leave.
And Victor Glover the only one not to have done so.
"I am very happy to be on dry land and I will enjoy it for a while," said the latter, with a big smile.
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