When it comes to space, America loves to be first: first human on the moon, first weather satellite, first flybys of Mars, Jupiter and Mercury. In May, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made another first possible, even after the 2011 retirement of NASA’s space shuttles. The colonels became the first commercial astronauts in a partnership between NASA and SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private rocket and spacecraft company.
“It still feels pretty surreal,” Hurley said during a NASA press conference after landing. The 62-day mission was a successful trip to the International Space Station before the Crew Dragon Endeavour dropped into the Gulf of Mexico. Behnken said, “Then we felt the splash and saw it splash up over the windows, and it was just a great relief.”