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Space capsule sets Yucatán skies ablaze on way to splashdown

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Facebook photo: @alexlugon

A SpaceX capsule’s path to Earth was directly over northern Yucatán, delighting sky gazers on Saturday night.

Clear skies made visibility easy. With a massive tail behind it, the roaring capsule Endurance delighted onlookers who knew enough to look up at the right time. Many of them posted videos and photos on social media.

“We watched it over the Yucataán! It was amazing! Then heard the boom from here as well. In awe!” a Chelem resident commented on social media.

Jake Robins, a Mérida-based podcaster, posted vivid photos on his Twitter account.

The SpaceX Dragon’s trajectory made it visible over Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and, for about four minutes starting at 7:50 p.m., Yucatán.

The capsule splashed down off Florida’s Gulf coast near Tampa just after 9 p.m. The journey from the International Space Station took nine hours.

On Twitter, @JakeOnOrbit posted this photo of the SpaceX capsule over Yucatán moments before splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.

On board was “Crew-5”: cosmonaut Anna Kikina, 38, who became the first Russian to fly on an American spacecraft in 20 years, and NASA flight commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, 45, the first Native American woman in space. NASA pilot Josh Cassada, 49, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, 59, a veteran of four previous spaceflights, were also aboard.

The Endurance crew poses while still in its capsule. Photo: NASA

They launched from Florida on Oct. 6 before orbiting the Earth more than 2,500 times and traveling more than 66 million miles / 106 million kilometers. Crew-5 ultimately contributed to over 100 science experiments and technology demonstrations.

With information from Reuters

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