Watch SpaceX Crew Dragon make its risky descent to Earth

This still image taken from NASA TV shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely aboard the company's recovery vessel following splashdown

The astronauts have been showing the Earth buddy around the space station.

The first-of-its-kind mission, ahead of SpaceX's crewed test flight slated for June, brought 400 pounds 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. The deorbit burn, powering the Crew Dragon back to Earth will occur not long after that at 4:50 a.m. and then the all important splashdown will occur at some point between 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m.

In 2014, NASA awarded contracts worth a combined $6.8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing to build spacecraft capable of carrying NASA's astronauts to the orbiting laboratory 250 miles above Earth. As a result, when SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted a picture of its inclusion, the company was inundated with orders completely depleting their available stock. NASA explained in a blog post on March 2 that the system is recording "everything an astronaut would experience throughout the mission, such as the forces, acceleration, the protection offered by Crew Dragon's seats, and overall environment".

NASA has been unable to fly its own astronauts since the final Space Shuttle retired in 2011, after which the space agency turned to the private sector to develop the next generation of human spaceflight hardware.

The reentry is one of the biggest tests of the Dragon and of SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002 with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Earth's orbit and beyond.

Crew Dragon will spend a little time in space before re-entering the atmosphere and it is set to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, not far off the Florida coast, at 1345GMT, a few hours after the undocking process (0731GMT).

The space station's three-member crew greeted the capsule Sunday morning, with US astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques entering Crew Dragon's cabin to carry out air quality tests and inspections.

The spacecraft will need to make a safe descent on Friday. More recently, the SEC claimed he violated the terms of the settlement, which require an attorney to review tweets that could affect Tesla's stock price. Musk said, "That could potentially cause a roll instability on re-entry. Reusable version of their new Angara rocket would be great", Musk wrote on Twitter on Thursday.



Other news