How the SpaceX test fight returned to Earth
August 1, 2020 - August 2, 2020 - The first manned SpaceX Dragon capsule made a text book splash down on August 2, in the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Florida's Pensacola. The successful outcome is set to spawn a new era for American space travel.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken returned from the International Space Station (ISS) on August 2, completing the first crewed test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon transportation system.
Their lift-off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30 marked the first time NASA astronauts have launched into orbit from U.S. soil since the final space shuttle flight took off in 2011. In the interim, NASA has hitched rides to orbit with Russia. The New York Times notes that SpaceX is now the first private business to take people to orbit. Previously the feat had only been accomplished by nations.
The first part of the test – lift-off and the docking of the capsule, named Endeavour, with the ISS – proceeded flawlessly. The second phase involved undocking, de-orbit, re-entry, parachute-assisted splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico and the recovery of the crew and capsule.
NASA will use data from this flight to certify that the Crew Dragon is ready for routine flights to the ISS. The next Crew Dragon mission, and the first operational one, is to carry four astronauts: three from NASA and one from JAXA – the Japanese space agency.
- Dragon – Sending humans and cargo into space (SpaceX)
- Top 10 Things to Know for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Return (NASA)
- SpaceX Crew Dragon: everything you need to know about the Demo-2 space launch (Science Focus)
- SpaceX and NASA’s Crew Dragon set to return to Earth on August 1 (Digital Trends)
- SpaceX Crew Dragon due to splash down after historic test (NewsAhead)