SpaceX Crew Dragon Successfully Completes Mission to ISS and Back
Completing a five-day mission at the International Space Station (ISS), American spacecraft Crew Dragon touched the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s eastern shore on Friday. The spacecraft successfully completed the end-to-end flight test to the ISS and then back to earth.
“It’s been almost 50 years since we’ve landed a spacecraft that was designed for humans in the Atlantic Ocean. Last one was Apollo 9 on March 13, 1969,” NASA tweeted.
Crew Dragon developed by SpaceX, a private US spaceflight company, returned to earth and created waves in the Atlantic Ocean at 13:45 GMT.
“Go Searcher” – SpaceX’s recovery ship – was staged in the ocean. It approached the Crew Dragon and will now be using a crane to lift out the spacecraft from the ocean.
“Today’s successful splashdown of the Demo-1 Crew Dragon capsule after its mission to the ISS marked another milestone in a new era of human spaceflight,” Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, tweeted.
According to NASA, the spacecraft had undocked itself from the ISS at 7:32 GMT and gradually manoeuvred away from the ISS to return to earth. The crew members of ISS had closed and locked the spacecraft’s hatch prior to the undocking on Thursday.
Crew Dragon, which has been specifically designed to fly astronauts to the ISS, was launched into the orbit on Saturday morning for its maiden unmanned flight. Dragon was successful in docking with the ISS on Sunday and departed only on Friday, remaining docked for five days.
The spacecraft has brought back more than 136 kg of science gear, crew supplies and station hardware, as per NASA. The first commercial crew vehicle dropped about 204 kg of materials to resupply the station crew Saturday.
It is a huge achievement as it was the first autonomous docking of any US spacecraft to the ISS. The new international docking adapter that was installed by astronauts during a spacewalk in August 2016 was used for the first time by the Crew Dragon.
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