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NASA SpaceX astronauts prepare for earth splashdown in historic mission

The first astronauts to ride a SpaceX capsule into orbit are preparing for a splashdown on Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are closing out a two-month test flight.

It will mark the first splashdown in 45 years for NASA astronauts.

The test pilots departed the International Space Station on Saturday night, and awoke to a recording of their young children urging them to “rise and shine” and “we can’t wait to see you.”

“Don’t worry, you can sleep in tomorrow,” said Behnken’s 6-year-old son Theo, who was promised a puppy after the flight. “Hurry home so we can go get my dog.”

The mission made history as it was the first time a private company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, successfully sent humans into orbit.

Plans called for the Dragon capsule, named Endeavour by its crew, to go from a screaming orbital speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) to 350 mph (560 kph) during reentry in the atmosphere and finally to 15 mph (24 kph) at splashdown.

The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, the scene of most splashdowns, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz.

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