SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule Ends First Test Mission With Successful Ocean Splash

Dragon Crew Demo-1 Mission launches from Cape Canaveral

Another goal of the United States is to stop their dependence on Russian "Soyuz" rockets and since the success of SpaceX's "Crew Dragon", NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co a total of $US6.8 billion to build a competing rocket and capsule system. Now, thanks to SpaceX's successful test mission, astronauts may soon have an alternate, more affordable, mode of transportation to the ISS.

After a six-day mission to the International Space Station, Crew Dragon detached at about 2:30 a.m EST (0730 GMT) and sped back to earth, reaching hypersonic speeds before an 8:45 a.m. EST (1345 GMT) splash-down about 200 miles (320 km) off the Florida coast.

Demonstration Mission-1 (Demo-1) was an uncrewed flight test created to demonstrate a new commercial capability developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

SpaceX has completed the first flight of a commercial spaceship created to fly people.

Falcon 9 returns to Earth after launching the Crew Dragon
Falcon 9 returns to Earth after launching the Crew Dragon

NASA passed a major milestone Friday in its goal to restore America's human spaceflight capability when SpaceX's Crew Dragon returned to Earth after a five-day mission docked to the International Space Station.

The U.S. relies on Russian Federation to launch astronauts to the space station, at a cost of about $80 million per ticket. "It was attractive", said Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX.

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". 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.After the program was retired, the U.S. government, under then president Barack Obama, turned toward SpaceX and Boeing to develop a new way to ferry its crews, paying the firms for their transport services.Due to about three years of development delays, the switch has come to fruition under Trump.

"I don't think we saw really anything in the mission, so far - and we've got to do the data reviews - that would preclude us having the crewed mission later this year", Steve Stich, deputy program manager at NASA, said on Friday. Demo-2, the first crewed test flight, will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the spacecraft's final flight to certify Crew Dragon for routine operational missions. "I'm, personally, very anxious to hear how Ripley is feeling after they pull her out of the capsule and get her onto the recovery vehicle".



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