SpaceX Crew Dragon: Watch the historic mission return from ISS today

  • SpaceX Crew Dragon: Watch the historic mission return from ISS today

SpaceX Crew Dragon: Watch the historic mission return from ISS today

Launch from Earth on a Falcon 9 rocket: Check. Orbit the planet: Check.

The Crew Dragon's journey back to Earth could be the hardest part of the Demo-1 Mission.

An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX was due to return to earth on Friday after a short-term stay on the International Space Station, capping the first orbital test mission in NASA's long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from USA soil later this year. The next big step is to undock from the ISS and come back to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean. The Crew Dragon spacecraft docked with the ISS on Sunday 3 March carrying supplies, a dummy in a SpaceX flight suit and the Earth plush toy. After a five-day mission on the orbital outpost, Crew Dragon was set to autonomously detach about 2:30 a.m EST (0730 GMT) on Friday and descend to earth for an 8:45 a.m. splash-down off Florida's Cape Canaveral coast.

The space agency will pick up with coverage of the undocking process, which is scheduled to start at 11 p.m. PT Thursday.

ISS Crew Member Earth Continues Work Aboard the Station 1
Earth making sure she is on schedule | Image credit NASA Anne McClain

Crew Dragon will spend a little time in space before re-entering the atmosphere. The test flight, which was created to prove that the Crew Dragon was safe enough to transport astronauts, will have to master a smooth descent on Friday morning. The capsule will return with research samples on board, but the cuddly Earth will remain behind on the ISS.

After this test flight and landing, the Crew Dragon will have to undergo an emergency abort system test, which is expected to take place in June, CNN reported. SpaceX's Go Searcher recovery ship will pick up the capsule from the water.

The Crew Dragon capsule's homecoming can be live-streamed on NASA Live and for more updates on the Demo-1 Mission, visit SpaceX's website.