Recreational boaters got up close and personal with the SpaceX capsule carrying two American astronauts after landing Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico – catching NASA officers off guard.
“This was not anticipating it,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a press conference addressing the private boaters who greeted the boat along with spacecraft Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on board.
Several boats with several passengers, including one flying the Trump campaign flag, could be seen on a show campaign that caught the historic voyage that surrounds the floating capsule after it was touched safely.
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Bridenstine noted that the U.S. Coast Guard released the landing for the craft and it wasn’t long after it splashed down as spectators descended nearby.
“We wanted to make sure there was clearing for them to go down. The Coast Guard did an excellent job of making sure of that,” Bridenstine said.
“Then of course, after they landed the boats just came in. We have to do a better job next time for sure,” he said.
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Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said 10 natural miles were cleared before the capsule returned.
The astronauts made it back to Earth after spending two months inside the International Space Station.
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The trip marked the first space mission ever commercial and Sunday was NASA’s first water landing since 1975.
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