Strong wind delays the SpaceX crew’s return home after 6 months of flight

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Strong winds off the coast of Florida prompted SpaceX to delay the return of four space station astronauts

The US, French and Japanese astronauts were expected to leave the International Space Station on Sunday, with their capsule crashing into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning. But with gusts exceeding safe limits, SpaceX anticipated departure to Monday afternoon, with a nightly return to conclude their six-month mission.

The good news is that their journey home will now take eight hours, less than half the time before. The toilet in their capsule is broken, so the four will have to rely on diapers as they fly home.

SpaceX is still aiming to launch their replacements on Wednesday night at the earliest. This flight was also delayed by bad weather and an undisclosed medical problem from an astronaut. The problem, described as minor, is expected to be resolved within the launch time, officials said.

Last week, SpaceX and NASA reversed the launch and landing order due to worsening weather and the impending deadline to bring the capsule back from the space station. SpaceX capsules are certified for up to 210 days in orbit, and that up there is approaching 200 days.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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