NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) all landed safely in the Atlantic ocean at 7.56am BST. As SpaceX’s Crew Dragon touched down, a round of applause broke out in NASA’s ground control.
The mission marked a major landmark for SpaceX as it was the first time its Crew Dragon returned humans from the ISS.
As the Crew Dragon, named Resilience, approached the ocean, all the parachutes opened as planned, slowing the craft down to below 16 kilometres per hour.
Ground control said they “continue to hear good news after good news” as the mission went as smoothly as possible.
They added: “It really could have not been a more flawless journey home for Resilience.”
Michael Hopkins said from inside the capsule: “We are standing by. While I’m thinking about it, for SpaceX and the NASA teams, on behalf of Crew-1 and our families, we just want to say thank you for this amazing vehicle.
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished when people come together.
“I’d like to say quite frankly you are changing the world. It is great to be back.”
The astronauts were then forced to remain the capsule for around 30 minutes as rescue ships inspected the Crew Dragon.
“The return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
“Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort.
“As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Crew Dragon onto the main deck of Go Navigator with the astronauts inside.
“Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to Pensacola to board a plane for Houston.”
NASA astronaut Victor Glover tweeted after departing the station: “Earthbound. One step closer to family and home!”
The astronauts left the ISS at 8.35pm EDT (1.35am BST) on May 2.
They then touched down at exactly the right time it was scheduled to.
With it being the middle of the night off the cooast of Florida, the mission also marked the first night time landing since 1968.