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Two US Astronauts Aboard Earth-Bound Elon Musk’s SpaceX Craft Depart ISS

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Two veteran American astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley

SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft have departed the International Space Station (ISS) on Saturday with two US astronauts on board, beginning their journey back to Earth.

NASA footage showed the capsule drifting slowly away from the ISS in the darkness of space, ending a two month stay for the first US astronauts to reach the orbiting lab on an American spacecraft in nearly a decade.

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The US space agency made this known with the astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken set to arrive on Sunday.

Their proposed splash-down sites are off the coast of western Florida’s panhandle, while tropical storm Isaias is headed toward the state’s east coast.

NASA opted to go ahead with bringing the pair home despite the threat of Isaias, which was downgraded to a tropical storm from a hurricane on Saturday.

The agency later added the capsule was confirmed to be “on a safe trajectory.”

Hurley in a farewell ceremony aboard the ISS that was broadcast on NASA TV said;

Now is the entry, descent and splashdown phase after we undock, hopefully a little bit later today. The teams are working really hard, especially with the dynamics of the weather over the next few days around Florida.

Earlier, during the ISS ceremony, Behnken said;

The hardest part was getting us launched. But the most important part is bringing us home.

Addressing his son and Hurley’s son, he held up a toy dinosaur that the children chose to send on the mission and said;

Tremor The Apatosaurus is headed home soon and he’ll be with your dads. All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.

The mission, which blasted off May 30, marked the first time a crewed spaceship had launched into orbit from American soil since 2011 when the space shuttle program ended.

It was also the first time a private company has flown to the ISS carrying astronauts.

A successful landing would mean America once again has a fully serviceable, fully certified means of getting its own people into orbit and back.

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