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Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Alper Gezeravc and Marcus Wandt sit with the Expedition 70 crew in the Harmony module of the International Space Station (ISS). The photo shows the astronauts shortly after their arrival, now they are on their way back

Photo: AFP

After more than two weeks at the International Space Station, the four European participants in the third private “Axiom” mission have left the ISS again. On board a “Crew Dragon” capsule, the four astronauts undocked from the ISS on Wednesday, as live images from the US space agency Nasa showed. The capsule is scheduled to land in the sea off the coast of the US state of Florida on Friday.

The Spanish-born former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, the Italian Walter Villadei, the Swede Marcus Wandt and the Turk Alper Gezeravci launched from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in January. Gezeravci was the first Turkish citizen to fly into space. They carried out numerous experiments on board the ISS. The European Space Agency Esa said that Wandt is the first representative of a new generation of European astronauts to take part in commercially operated manned space flights with Axiom Space.

The trip was organized by the private space company Axiom Space in collaboration with NASA and SpaceX, the company owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk. According to media reports, the flight costs around 50 million euros per passenger.