Astronauts of NASA's SpaceX mission return to Earth


NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn greets friends after being helped out of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX Shannon recovery ship after he landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, US, May 6, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

LOS ANGELES - NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts aboard the Dragon Endurance spacecraft safely splashed down earlier Friday in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the southeastern U.S. state of Florida, NASA said.

The international crew, consisting of NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown, after spending 177 days in orbit, the agency's third long-duration commercial crew mission to the International Space Station.

The Crew-3 mission was launched on Nov. 10 last year on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Throughout their mission, the Crew-3 astronauts conducted a host of science and maintenance activities and technology demonstrations, according to NASA.