SpaceX Crew Dragon Makes Successful Return From ISS
Kyle Maxey posted on March 11, 2019 |
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has successfully returned from its demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Under bright skies, the first commercial spacecraft manufactured to ferry humans from Earth to the ISS splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

During the six-day joint NASA/SpaceX mission, aptly named Demo-1, the Crew Dragon noted several “firsts” for a spacecraft. According to NASA, the Crew Dragon was:

  • First commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to launch from American soil on a mission to the space station.
  • First commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft to dock with the space station.
  • First autonomous docking of a U.S. spacecraft to the International Space Station.
  • First use of a new, global design standard for the adapters that connect the space station to Crew Dragon and Orion spacecraft.

In addition to the precedents that it has set, the Demo-1 mission was equipped with a sensor-stuffed dummy named Ripley that collected valuable data about how a human would fare travelling aboard the Crew Dragon.

“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,” said astronaut Mike Hopkins, who will be the first pilot of Crew Dragon.

(The good stuff starts around 1:07:27)

With this success, SpaceX and NASA will refurbish the Crew Dragon and ready it for a summer test, Demo-2. During that test, the Crew Dragon will undergo a planned, mid-flight abort maneuver that will demonstrate the craft’s ability to recover from a failed launch sequence. If successful, the Crew Dragon will then be readied again to make the first commercial trip to the ISS with a human on board.

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