"I'm not very religious, but I prayed for this one."
Elon Musk's SpaceX saw the successful landing of its Crew Dragon capsule on Sunday (August 2) after a two-month voyage.
It was NASA's first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.
Speaking at a homecoming event in Houston, Texas Sunday, astronaut Doug Hurley said he was proud to be part of the experience.
"You know, this has been a quite an odyssey the last five, six, seven, eight years, five years since Bob and I started working on this program. And to be where we are now, the first crewed flight of Dragon is just unbelievable."
Hurley and fellow astronaut Bob Behnken flew aboard the capsule to the International Space Station and spent 64 days in space before splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico.
Their homecoming was the first crewed splashdown in an American capsule in 45 years.
The successful splashdown was also a final key test of whether SpaceX could transport humans to and from orbit -- a feat no private company has accomplished before.
And Musk said he hoped the news would bring some much-needed light to dark times.
"You know, I think this is something that the whole world can take some pleasure in and can really look at this as an achievement of humanity. These are difficult times when, you know, there's there's not that much good news. And I think this is one of those things that is universally good no matter where you are on planet Earth. This is a good thing."
The landmark mission, which took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on May 31, marked the first time the U.S. space agency launched humans from American soil since its shuttle program retired in 2011.