SpaceX Crew Dragon Set To Return To Earth From Inaugural Mission

Katie Ramirez
March 13, 2019

"It won't be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner vehicles, and we can't wait", U.S. astronaut Anne McClain said on behalf of the ISS crew after the capsule left the station.NASA and the administration of President Donald Trump have spent all week extolling the historic nature of the mission. Capsules have no wings and fall to the earth, their descent slowed only by parachutes - much like the Russian Soyuz craft, which lands in the steppes of Kazakhstan.The last generation of United States spacecraft, the Space Shuttles, landed like airplanes.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, completing a NASA demonstration mission that paves the way for the resumption of manned space flights from the US.

To really make sure the capsule is capable of handling a lot of stress and then some, the capsule that the test will be carried on is the same one that has now landed back on Earth; of course, the Crew Dragon will be refurbished before its next test mission.

At the moment the results have not be collected and analyzed so its unclear whether or not the mission will impact SpaceX's 2019 launch schedule. At 5:51 a.m. EST on March 3, about 27 hours after launching into orbit, the capsule successfully docked at the orbiting lab. Ripley was riddled with sensors to monitor how flight in the capsule would feel for humans.

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A SpaceX rocket launched the 16-foot-tall (4.9-meter) capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Saturday. Upon entering the Earth's atmospheres, it deployed a set of four parachutes to help slow down its rapid pace.

If all the upcoming tests will also prove to be successful, we might see the crewed flight take off as early as July: NASA's Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on board of the Crew Dragon that time around, which will ferry them to the ISS and back.

"Everything happened just perfectly, right on time the way that we expected it to", Benjamin Reed, SpaceX director of crew mission management, said in a live stream from California. It comprises eight SuperDraco thrusters that can ignite during the ascent and fly a Crew Dragon capsule far away from its failing Falcon 9 rocket. It's a huge step forward for NASA for the International Space Program.

SpaceX has completed the first flight of a commercial spaceship created to fly people. In addition to reducing our dependence on the Soyuz and reducing costs, NASA will also be able to send more scientists on each mission, given Starliner's capacity to carry up to six astronauts.

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