March 24, 2019

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Splashes Down In Atlantic Ocean

09 March 2019, 05:03 | Edward Lowe

Crew Dragon is coming back to Earth: What to know

The Crew Dragon capsule was fished out of the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast shortly before 10 a.m. ET Friday with its surface bearing the scorch marks of its fiery re-entry

When fully operational, the craft is expected to carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

The Dragon capsule that flew this week is not the final version that will fly in future tests, but it is close. SpaceX were able to demonstrate the capsule's launch, docking, undocking and re-entry capabilities, the validity of its triple parachute system and now have reams of data to analyze, including from Ripley's suite of body sensors, to ensure the capsule is ready to ferry humans from Earth to the space station in just a few months time.

NASA's live video feed allowed space fans to follow the craft's descent.

On Saturday, March 2, at 2:49 a.m. EST, one of the company's Falcon 9 rockets lit up the pre-dawn sky, lofting a Crew Dragon spacecraft created to carry humans-but carrying only a stuffed globe and a manikin named Ripley outfitted with a space suit and suite of sensors-to the International Space Station (ISS).

Canadian space station astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the Dragon capsule and the last to leave this week. Before sealing the Crew Dragon at 12:39 p.m. Thursday for its return, astronauts loaded the vessel with about 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of supplies and other materials to send home.

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After dropping behind and below the lab, the Crew Dragon adjusted its orbit and jettisoned its empty trunk section, an unpressurized cargo compartment behind the crew compartment, to set the stage for entry. After a half-hour freefall, the spacecraft slammed into the top of the thick lower atmosphere at a velocity of almost five miles per second. SpaceX is shooting for summer.

In such a scenario, a Dragon's powerful thrusters would push it away from the launcher to safety.

"We think both providers, and NASA, are doing the right things in a very deliberate fashion to get to the point where we can say, 'yea, verily, let's launch some people, ' which we are all eagerly awaiting", she said.

"Will the parachutes deploy correctly?"

Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed!

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The re-entry into Earth's atmosphere tested the vehicle's heat shield for the first time, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk had previously said that the phase was "probably my biggest concern".

SpaceX's Crew Dragon has been retrieved by the "Go Searcher" recovery ship after splashing into the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning.

Once again, cameras aboard the International Space Station showed stunning views of Crew Dragon in space.

Nasa has already selected its first astronauts to fly aboard a crewed Dragon. In this program, NASA's aim is to work with two American companies to provide "safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew transportation" to and from the ISS.

Astronauts have not launched from Florida for eight years, and NASA is eager to end the drought and reduce its costly dependence on Russian Federation for space station trips. The station's crew spent several days monitoring the spacecraft while docked to the station before closing hatches between the station and spacecraft March 7.

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Musk has also faced trouble at SpaceX. The flight time from departing the space station until splashdown was approximately 6 hours.

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