NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley helped SpaceX make history today when the duo became the first humans to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico inside a Crew Dragon capsule. The return to Earth from the International Space Station concluded a months-long demonstration mission to certify the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for routine human spaceflight missions.
The first U.S. astronaut splashdown in 45 years didn’t go without an unexpected bit of turbulence however — just not for the crew of the new spacecraft. Despite a 10-mile safety zone created by the U.S. Coast Guard on behalf of NASA and SpaceX, a worrying number of boats formed a fleet of intruders around the perimeter of the splashdown site on Sunday.
NASA, SpaceX, and the Coast Guard responded to concerns about the uninvited boaters after the dangerous spacecraft splashdown and astronaut recovery effort was completed. Based on social media posts discovered after the incident, local boaters involved in the activity appear to have coordinated their arrival prior to the splashdown despite local warnings to maintain a safe distance.
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