Published: Mon, March 11, 2019
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Elon Musk`s SpaceX Capsule Splashes Down Off Florida Coast

Elon Musk`s SpaceX Capsule Splashes Down Off Florida Coast

NASA resumed talks with Russia's space agency Roscosmos in February seeking two additional Soyuz seats for 2020 to maintain a USA presence on the space station.

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.

Last Saturday, SpaceX launched its new Crew Dragon spaceship designed for NASA astronauts toward the International Space Station (ISS), where the vehicle docked on March 3.

Dragon also marks a return to a "vintage" format: it is the first USA capsule since the pioneering Apollo program. This unmanned test flight ferried supplies to the station. 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. "He adds that" this the first time that an American spacecraft has docked since the retirement of shuttle in 2011".

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

The U.S. relies on Russian Federation to launch astronauts to the space station, at a cost of about $80 million per ticket.

NASA and SpaceX teams gathered in the early morning hours at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to follow the spacecraft's return journey and ocean splashdown. From the images we can see that the outer shell of the craft has suffered burns upon its re-entry into the atmosphere. "Beautiful parachute deployment", said Benji Reed, the director of crew mission management at SpaceX.

"For the first time, we've gotten to see an end-to-end test, and so now we've brought together the people, the hardware and all the processes and procedures, and we've gotten to see how they all work together, and that's very important as we move toward putting people onboard", he said. Ripley was riddled with sensors to monitor how flight in the capsule would feel for humans. 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.

"He's going to welcome us aboard, probably, when we get there", Behnken said Friday during a NASA TV broadcast. Indeed, the Demo-1 mission-an important test of NASA's revamped commercial crew programme-went exactly as planned, signifying an important milestone for the United States as it strives to regain its ability to independently send astronauts into space-something it hasn't been able to do since the days of the Space Shuttle Programme.

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