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Photo: NASA

An international crew of four astronauts is back on Earth after a long-duration stay on the International Space Station.

The big picture: Sunday's splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico marks the end of SpaceX's first fully operational crewed mission to the space station.

A night-vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule parachuting in the Gulf of Mexico as boats arrive to pick up the astronauts. Photo: NASA TV

What's happening: NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan's Soichi Noguchi splashed down about 3a.m. ET after undocking from the space station Saturday evening.

  • The return of this crew leaves a crew of seven people on the space station now, four flown up by another SpaceX mission and three that flew to space aboard Russia's Soyuz.

What's next: The Crew Dragon capsule — named Resilience — will now be turned around so it can be used for SpaceX's next crewed flight, the Inspiration 4 mission to orbit expected to launch in September.

  • As part of its refurbishment, SpaceX is planning to install a large window in place of the spacecraft's docking adaptor to give the all-civilian crew an unmatched view of space while in orbit.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with images from the splashdown.

Go deeper

Frontier passenger taped to seat after allegedly assaulting 3 flight attendants

Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

A Frontier Airlines passenger was arrested for allegedly groping the breasts of two attendants and punching a third before being taped to his seat for the remainder of his flight from Philadelphia to Miami, per multiple reports.

The big picture: It's been an unprecedented year for reports of unruly and violent airline passengers, with the Federal Aviation Administration dealing with hundreds of cases despite announcing in January a new "zero tolerance" policy.

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.