Japan's Koichi Wakata returned to Earth on Saturday along with three other astronauts aboard a U.S. SpaceX spacecraft, following a five-month stay at the International Space Station.

Wakata, 59, completed his fifth space mission, a record for a Japanese. The country's oldest astronaut has spent a total of more than 500 days in space.

The commercial spacecraft Crew Dragon deployed a parachute after entering the atmosphere with Wakata, two astronauts from U.S. space agency NASA and one from Russia landing off the coast of Florida after 9 p.m. It had left the ISS earlier in the day.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata leaves the Crew Dragon spaceship after landing off the coast of Florida on March 11, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration)(Kyodo)

A recovery team waiting at sea lifted the spacecraft onto a ship, with Wakata smiling at the staff as he emerged.

The spacecraft was launched from Florida in early October on a mission that included some experiments in low-gravity environments, such as testing the movements of liquids, to help develop technologies for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

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