Monday, 25 March, 2019


SpaceX Crew Dragon heads home from ISS for Atlantic splashdown

This still image taken from NASA TV shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely aboard the company's recovery vessel following splashdown ISS Crew Member Earth Continues Work Aboard the Station
Kristine Garrett | 08 March, 2019, 15:24

A final key test on Crew Dragon's emergency abort system is scheduled for June.

Now playing: Watch this: SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft docks with the worldwide. The mannequin, named Ripley, was equipped with sensors to help better understand what astronauts will experience when they launch on the capsule.

Elon Musk, the CEO of U.S. private aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, called Russia's rocket engineering "excellent" and said the country's rocket engines are the best now flying, also suggesting that the reusable version of Russia's Angara rocket would be "great".

Little Earth and the cargo will stay on the space station, while Ripley is headed back home on Crew Dragon. Instead, it has paid Russian Federation for rides to the space station at an increasing price tag that now tops $80 million. NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques opened the hatch Sunday becoming the first to enter the new vehicle in space.

Crew Dragon undocks from the ISS. Crew Dragon is now whirling through orbit and is scheduled to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 am ET after spending six days in space for the uncrewed demonstration mission. It carried approximately 400 pounds of equipment, food and other supplies the astronauts need in order to continue their work.

What's at stake: While NASA hasn't reported any issues for the first part of Crew Dragon's test flight but the spacecraft must also do well through the descent.

This adventure marks the first test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which involves SpaceX and Boeing working to launch astronauts from United States soil for the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. The data from the demonstration-1 flight is part of the process to secure certification from NASA to fly crew. Provided that all runs smoothly, astronauts could launch in a SpaceX capsule as early as midyear. Boeing received $4.2 billion to build the CST-100 spacecraft and SpaceX received $2.6 billion to build its Dragon V2 spacecraft, or Crew Dragon.

Crew Dragon also features eight "SuperDraco" escape engines, created to manoeuvre the SpaceX capsule out of harm's way during a launch emergency. It's slated to fly its first uncrewed demo mission no earlier than April.

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