27 epic images show how SpaceX made history by flying NASA astronauts to and from the space station

SpaceX and NASA made history on Sunday when a toasted, gumdrop-shaped spaceship splashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Crew Dragon capsule — designed by SpaceX with funding from NASA — was returning astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth after an unprecedented mission to the International Space Station. It was the first time a private company had taken humans into space.

But this was just a demonstration mission. Its success tees NASA up to ferry astronauts regularly to and from the space station aboard the Crew Dragon. 

“This day heralds a new age of space exploration,” Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, said in a briefing after the splashdown, adding, “I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”

Here are the best photos from the launch, the astronauts’ time in space, and their fiery plunge back to Earth.

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