ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet of France, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of Japan of Crew 2 assemble with Crew 1 for a welcome ceremony after they arrived aboard the International Space Station, after docking SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule obiting the earth April 24, 2021 in a still image from video. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON – The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Crew-1 astronauts parachuted to a splashdown off the coast of Florida early Sunday, completing a six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft, named Resilience, splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida at 2:56 am Eastern Time (0656 GMT) Sunday.

Recovery vessels hoisted the spacecraft out of the ocean and place it inside the Dragon nest aboard SpaceX’s Go Navigator recovery ship.

The crew is now on the recovery boat, and will take a helicopter from there back to shore. Later they will take a plane back to the US city of Houston.

As the first crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the Crew-1 mission, which consists of NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, undocked from the ISS at 8:35 pm Eastern Time Saturday (0035 GMT Sunday) to start the journey home.

The four astronauts are returning home after 167 days in space — “the most for a US spacecraft since the final Skylab mission in 1974,” NASA announced on Twitter.

Some ISS research supply is coming home on the Crew Dragon, among over 250 kg of cargo, according to the agency.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon with the four Crew-1 astronauts onboard was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on Nov 15 last year, and docked with the ISS the next day.

Crew-1 is the first of six crewed missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.