SpaceX Crew Capsule Leaves International Space Station

  • SpaceX Crew Capsule Leaves International Space Station

SpaceX Crew Capsule Leaves International Space Station

SpaceX launched a plush Earth doll aboard its Crew Dragon spaceship in March 2019.

About 6 hours after departing the space station, Crew Dragon splashed down at 8:45 a.m. EST approximately 230 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

No people flew on board to the International Space Station.

After hours of suspense, the Crew Dragon touched down in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 am some 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the coast of the USA state of Florida.The 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.NASA TV footage showed the capsule gently drifting into the ocean, its decent slowed by its four main orange and white parachutes, which folded into the water around it as boats sped toward the site. Shuttles took American astronauts to space from 1981 to 2011, but their cost proved prohibitive, while two of the original four craft had catastrophic accidents, killing 14 crew members.

First commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft to dock with the space station.

"Everything happened just perfectly, right on time the way that we expected it to", Benjamin Reed, SpaceX's director of crew mission management, said in a live stream from California.

The launch systems are aimed at ending USA reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for $80 million-per-seat rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above earth.

The SpaceX mission represents the first private venture to the ISS, as well as the first time a space vessel capable of carrying people was launched by the USA in eight years.

The mission carried 400 pounds (180 kg) of test equipment to the space station, including a dummy named Ripley outfitted with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.

Next in line is a test that will take place in June and will target Crew Dragon's emergency escape system. Indeed, the Demo-1 mission-an important test of NASA's revamped commercial crew programme-went exactly as planned, signifying an important milestone for the United States as it strives to regain its ability to independently send astronauts into space-something it hasn't been able to do since the days of the Space Shuttle Programme.

Boeing's Starliner crew capsule is poised to launch its maiden unmanned mission in April ahead of an August test flight carrying USA astronauts Michael Fincke, Chris Ferguson and Nicole Mann. In the coming months, SpaceX and NASA will analyze data gathered during the flight to prepare Crew Dragon for its first human passengers: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. Worried about his other fellow astronauts, inanimate or not, he added he is "personally, very anxious to hear how Ripley is feeling after they pull her out of the capsule and get her onto the recovery vehicle".