The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft began its journey back to Earth last night (August 1), following a successful lift off from the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA's live coverage of the event reveals astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are on their way home after two months on board, and are set to make a splashdown in Florida today after nearby storm threats eased.
Their mission marks the first US crew to reach the ISS on an American spacecraft in nearly a decade, as well as the first splashdown to Earth in 45 years.
The space agency has been keeping followers updated every step of the way, tweeting this morning, "And they are off! @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug have left the @Space_Station!"
Details of the Demo-2 mission were listed in the tweet, alongside a clip of the capsule drifting away from the ISS into space. In a separate message, NASA confirmed the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour was "on a safe trajectory".
The aircraft's return marks the last step in the mission designed to test SpaceX's commercial spaceflight carrier, including launch, docking, splashdown and recovery operations.
So long as the landing goes to plan, this will mark a new era for NASA, taking them one step closer to making commercial space travel a reality.
During a post-launch event in May, Elon Musk - founder of SpaceX - told the press he was feeling overwhelmed with emotion after seeing the shuttle take off.
Speaking to the press, the 48-year-old tech billionaire said at the time: "I'm really quite overcome with emotion on this day. It's kind of hard to talk, frankly.
"I've spent 18 years working toward this goal, so it's hard to believe that it's happened. It is a little hard to process. I think at this point I haven't sorted out my emotions.
"This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilization on Mars, of life becoming multiplanetary, a base on the moon and expanding beyond Earth."
However, he's not declaring victory just yet - despite the positive outlook for test flight's completion, he emphasised back in May that the "return can be more dangerous than the ascent".
"We need to bring them home safely and make sure that we are doing everything we can to minimise that risk of re-entry," he explained.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read