SpaceX Crew Dragon returns from ISS to Earth

08 March, 2019, 16:23 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Falcon 9 first stage core B1051 enters Port Canaveral

Falcon 9 launched Saturday before dawn with the Crew Dragon capsule, created to carry up to seven astronauts, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center launch complex 39A.

Crew Dragon will spend a little time in space before re-entering the atmosphere and it is set to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, not far off the Florida coast, at 1345GMT, a few hours after the undocking process (0731GMT).

SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the first commercial spacecraft built for humans to travel to the International Space Station, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning, ending a historic mission and beginning the next phase of human spaceflight.

The space station's three-member crew greeted the capsule Sunday morning, with US astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques entering Crew Dragon's cabin to carry out air quality tests and inspections. "We want to make sure that everything is ideal". However, Crew Dragon is carrying one lifeless - but lifelike - passenger, a dummy outfitted with a variety of sensors so scientists can measure the forces exerted on the body during the mission.

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It marks the end of a highly successful and long-awaited debut of a crew-capable vehicle for the United States, almost eight years after the last Space Shuttle touched down. "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 through the work of our commercial partner SpaceX and all of the talented and dedicated flight controllers at NASA and our global partners".

Crew Dragon departs ISS Crew Dragon backs away from the International Space Station during its Demo-1 mission, following undocking on 8 March at 02:32 EST.

About 300 pounds of cargo, including unneeded hardware and scientific samples, were packed aboard the Dragon for the return trip. NASA said the toy would be brought back to Big Earth when two NASA astronauts - Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken - fly on Demonstration Mission 2 to the space station. For example, some tweaks may need to be made to the thruster system, and the parachute system still has to be fully certified for crewed flights. (A test dummy named Ripley was on board.) The nearly-week long test flight culminated when the spacecraft disembarked from the station about 1:15 a.m. The first flight without crew is slated for no earlier than April and a crewed launch in late summer. NASA hoped their spacecrafts would start flying in 2017.

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