Friday, 22 March, 2019

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Splashes Down in Atlantic Ocean

Crew Dragon is coming back to Earth: What to know Watch: SpaceX Crew Dragon Set For Splashdown In Atlantic Ocean
Sandra Phillips | 09 March, 2019, 17:05

Officials at the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will scrutinize the performance of the SpaceX capsule's parachute deployment and its buoyancy after splash-down. This was the first time in fifty years that an astronaut capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean and SpaceX's first orbital test mission.

It marks the first time in 50 years that a capsule designed for astronauts returned from space by plopping into the Atlantic.

Dragon splashed into the Atlantic Ocean exactly on time, at 08:45 EST (13:45 UTC).

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, was selected along with the Boeing group by NASA in 2014 to develop the next generation of space vehicles for United States astronauts, after the end of the 1981-2011 space shuttle program.

The burn itself kicked off on time, at 12:53 UTC, shaving a critical few hundred miles an hour off the Crew Dragon's speed ahead of a splashdown, almost 50 years to the day since Apollo 9 returned to Earth. SpaceX's recovery ship Go Searcher will then return Crew Dragon to Port Canaveral, Fla. He said such progress was "leading to a day where we are launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil". 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.

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After landing in the ocean, SpaceX boated out to the capsule, and now plans to retrieve the spacecraft, lift it onto its recovery ship, and return to the Kennedy Space Center where the company houses rockets in a 54,000-square-foot hangar.

Elon Musk wants this test mission to prove the Crew Dragon's asymmetrical shape and cutting-edge parachute system can survive the perilous plunge through Earth's atmosphere, while protecting its cargo.

SpaceX and Boeing have both now contracted with NASA to conduct astronaut launches, with Crew Dragon the first capsule actually launched into space on a test mission. NASA and SpaceX have not been forthcoming about what those problems were, and continue to refer to them vaguely as "anomalies", even in an October safety advisory panel report submitted to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques opened the hatch Sunday becoming the first to enter the new vehicle in space.

"It won't be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing's Starliner vehicle, and we can't wait". It successfully linked up with the space station the next day. SpaceX and NASA will now examine the capsule and the data collected by the craft's only passenger, a sensor-packed dummy called Ripley. Vibration, acoustic and other measurements were taken throughout the recently completed flight, not only of the capsule but also the mannequin - named Ripley after the lead character in the "Alien" films - which was strapped into one of the four seats.

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