NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, left, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi. | Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images

Four astronauts returned from the International Space Station early Sunday morning aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico nearly six months after arriving at the orbital laboratory in November last year as the first operational, long-duration crew under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi boarded Crew Dragon and undocked from the space station at 8:35PM ET Saturday to begin their roughly six-hour trek home. The crew splashed down off the coast of Panama City, Florida at 2:56am ET on Sunday, NASA said in a news release.

The crew’s return was initially set for Wednesday, April 28th,…

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