SpaceX returns private Ax-1 astronaut crew to Earth after extended space station stay

SpaceX safely returned its Crew Dragon spacecraft from orbit on Monday, carrying the private crew of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission back from the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour splashed down off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Welcome back to planet Earth. The Axiom-1 mission marks the beginning of a new paradigm for human spaceflight. We hope you enjoyed the extra few days in space and thanks for choosing to fly SpaceX,” the company’s mission control said on a livestream of the splashdown.

The Ax-1 mission was commanded by retired NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, with real estate investor Larry Connor as the pilot, and Canadian investor Mark Pathy and former Israeli fighter pilot Eytan Stibbe as mission specialists. Lopez-Alegria is Axiom’s vice president of business development, while the other three are passengers whose trips were paid for by other organizations.