SpaceX Crew Dragon Set For Splashdown In Atlantic Ocean

10 March, 2019, 17:13 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Crew Dragon is coming back to Earth: What to know

At first blush, the performance of Dragon appears to have met or exceeded NASA's hopes for this flight to the International Space Station, including during the critical descent back to Earth Friday morning.

The capsule, which launched last Saturday, parachuted down into the Atlantic Ocean near Port Canaveral around 8:45 a.m.

The seven-seat capsule brought its "crew" of one test dummy back to Earth in the same way that American astronauts returned to the planet in the Apollo era in the 1960s and 1970s, before the 1981-2011 Space Shuttle Program.

The '"Demo-1" was the first private mission to the ISS, and the first time a space vessel capable of carrying humans had been launched from U.S. soil in eight years.

"It won't be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner vehicles, and we can't wait", United States astronaut Anne McClain said on behalf of the ISS crew after the capsule left the station.

In June, the Crew Dragon will have to conduct an emergency abort system test, which will ensure that this feature is good to go before SpaceX sends a human crew to the ISS. All this is "leading to a day where we are launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", he said.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will aim to land 200 miles off the US East coast, at around 12.30pm GMT (7.30am ET).

Bridenstine told Reuters the cost per seat on the Boeing or SpaceX systems would be lower than for the shuttle or Soyuz. Crew Dragon launched on March 2 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

Much work, of course, remains to be done to get astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board Dragon for their mission to the station.

Crew Dragon is coming back to Earth: What to know
SpaceX splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean, completes historic crew capsule mission

"Fifty years after humans landed on the moon for the first time, America has driven a golden spike on the trail to new space exploration feats", NASA astronaut Anne McClain said from the station shortly after Crew Dragon departed.

The astronauts have begun procedures ahead of Crew Dragon's undocking at 2:31 a.m. Friday.

"This is an awesome achievement in American history", said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine Friday.

"This is an unbelievable achievement in American history", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on NASA TV, per the New York Times.

During a video interview with reporters beamed to Earth on Thursday, Saint-Jacques said it looked "like a business class spacecraft".

Nasa has seed-funded Boeing to produce a capsule of its own called the Starliner. Before the mission, Nasa officials had said the spacecraft's ability to dock autonomously to the station would be one of the biggest tests of the vehicle.

Crew Dragon's maiden flight into space is a major milestone in American space flight.

"This is an fantastic achievement in human history. the dawn of a new era in American human space flight", said Jim Bridenstine, the head of Nasa, which signed a $2.6 billion contract with SpaceX in 2014 to build a new generation of manned spacecraft. If that mission also succeeds, then SpaceX should be certified to carry astronauts back and forth to the station on a regular basis.

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