A SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts back to Earth after a busy six months on the International Space Station landed Monday off the coast of Florida, a NASA live broadcast showed.
Slowed by the Earth's atmosphere, as well as four huge parachutes, the Dragon capsule was able to withstand the dizzying descent thanks to its heat shield.
A boat will retrieve the capsule, and the astronauts on board will be brought back to land via helicopter.
Since arriving on April 24, the crew of two Americans, a Frenchman and one Japanese astronaut conducted hundreds of experiments and helped upgrade the station's solar panels.
They boarded their Dragon, dubbed "Endeavour", and undocked from the ISS at 2:05 pm (1905 GMT), NASA announced.
Endeavour then looped around the ISS for around an hour-and-a-half to take photographs, the first such mission since a Russian Soyuz spaceship performed a similar maneuver in 2018.
The Dragon, which flew mostly autonomously, has a small circular window at the top of its forward hatch through which the astronauts can point their cameras.
Their activities have included documenting the planet's surface to record human-caused changes and natural events, growing Hatch chile peppers and studying worms to better understand human health changes in space.
Crew-2's departure was delayed a day by high winds.
Bad weather and what NASA called a "minor medical issue" have also pushed back the launch of the next set of astronauts, on the Crew-3 mission, which is now set to launch Wednesday.
Until then, the ISS will be inhabited by only three astronauts -- two Russians and one American.
SpaceX began providing astronauts a taxi service to the ISS in 2020, ending nine years of US reliance on Russian rockets for the journey following the end of the Space Shuttle program.
- Broken toilet -
The crew also faced a final challenge on their journey home -- they had to wear diapers after a problem was detected with the capsule's waste management system, forcing it to remain offline.
They had no access to a toilet from the time the hatch closed at 12:40 pm (1740 GMT) until after splashdown -- around 10 hours.
"Of course that's sub-optimal, but we're prepared to manage," NASA astronaut Megan McArthur said at a press conference ahead of the departure.
"Space flight is full of lots of little challenges, this is just one more that we'll encounter and take care of in our mission."
A SpaceX all-tourist crew encountered a similar waste-related problem during a September flight, which triggered an alarm system.
NASA later said a tube had come unglued, sending urine to the capsule's fan system instead of a storage tank.