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NASA astronauts speak after historic SpaceX return

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"There's something special about having that capability to launch and bring our own astronauts home. And we went through a lot of years without that capability. And I think we're both super, super proud to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those space flights back to the Florida coast and bringing that capability back to America," Behnken said at a welcome ceremony at Johnson Space Center.

Behnken and Hurley, tallying 64 days in space, undocked from the station on Saturday and returned home to land in calm waters off Florida's Pensacola coast on schedule at 2:48 p.m. ET following a 21-hour overnight journey aboard Crew Dragon "Endeavor."

The successful splashdown, the first of its kind by NASA in 45 years, was a final key test of whether SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk's spacecraft can transport astronauts to and from orbit - a feat no private company has accomplished before.

"These are difficult times when, you know, there's there's not that much good news. And I think this is one of those things that is universally good no matter where you are on planet Earth," Musk said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Musk's SpaceX became the first private company to send humans to orbit with the launch of Behnken and Hurley.

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