Astronauts leave treats behind on space station as they splash down after months in orbit

By John Mercury March 13, 2024

Four astronauts from four different countries have safely returned to Earth as they splashed down near Florida after 199 days in orbit.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 went around the planet 3,184 times during their more than six months on the International Space Station (ISS).

The group was made up of NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen from Denmark, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov.

Ms Moghbeli, a US Marine helicopter pilot nicknamed Jaws, left the SpaceX capsule, Endurance, with a cheery message for her ISS colleagues.

Konstantin Borisov, Andreas Mogensen,Jasmin Moghbeli and Satoshi Furukawa shortly after landing on 12 March. Pic: NASA/AP
Image:
(L-R) Borisov, Mogensen, Moghbeli and Furukawa shortly after landing on 12 March. Pic: NASA/AP

“We left you some peanut butter and tortillas,” she radioed back.

NASA’s Loral O’Hara, who is due to return to Earth next month on a Russian capsule, replied: “I miss you guys already. Thanks for that very generous gift.”

Following safety checks after their night-time landing, the Dragon capsule was lifted from the Gulf of Mexico on to a recovery ship.

The crew was then due to have a health check at a medical facility.

It was SpaceX’s seventh mission to the ISS and involved hundreds of experiments being conducted.

The astronauts gathered samples from outside the station, investigated how space impacts astronauts’ sleep and looked at how being in orbit affects humans, among other things.

It’s all intended to help develop future trips to the moon, Mars and beyond.

It was the first time Ms Moghbeli and Russian astronaut Konstantin Borisov had gone to space.

Before lift-off in August, Mr Borisov told NASA’s podcast he’d grown up in a Russian city full of astronauts and had dreamt of experiencing zero-gravity.

“I want to feel weightlessness,” he said. “Not for 20 seconds like we do in the aircraft, but for an hour, a day, a week. Like, you float all the time.”

Jasmin Moghbeli in training at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, before her mission to the International Space Station. Pic: SpaceX
Image:
Jasmin Moghbeli in training at SpaceX in California before her mission. Pic: SpaceX

Rye bread and beef Wellington

Denmark’s Andreas Mogensen has now completed five space missions, and is known for being the first Dane to fly in space. It sounds like he missed his Danish delicacies while he was up there.

He posted on X saying this mission had been the “adventure of a lifetime” but he was looking forward to crunchy food.

“I look forward to seeing my family, hearing birds singing in the trees, feeling the sun on my face, and having something crunchy food again – maybe some good Danish rye bread or a beef Wellington.”

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Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa was a relative veteran on the mission, having already logged 167 days in space.

Before landing back on Earth, he posted on X saying: “I have grandchildren, and I believe that by the time they grow up, space will have become more familiar to them.

“My long-term mission to the ISS was also preparation for this.”

Support teams shortly after astronauts splashed down off the coast of Florida, 12 March. Pic: NASA/AP
Image:
Support teams shortly after astronauts splashed down off the coast of Florida. Pic: NASA/AP

‘Space unites us all’

After the capsule safely landed, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the crew’s success was proof “space unites us all”.

“It’s clear that we can do more – we can learn more – when we work together.”

The Crew-7 mission is part of NASA’s programme to improve transportation between Earth and the International Space Station.

The next crew on the mission, Crew-8, are already up in orbit, having blasted off on 4 March.

They’ll spend several months on the ISS testing how things like stem cells act in space and how the increased radiation up there affects plants, among around 200 other experiments.

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