The SpaceX “Crew Dragon” has finally concluded its historic mission to the International Space Station (ISS) today (March 8). The SpaceX Dragon vehicle left the International Space Station after being docked there for the past week, and re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. The Crew Dragon capsule splashed down, off the Florida coast, in the Atlantic Ocean today at 8:45 a.m. EST (1345 GMT). Four parachutes brought it into “soft contact” with water and heat-shield prevented the capsule from burning on re-entry.
The mission was significant as it fulfilled NASA’s desire to send astronauts from US soil, in a US-built module. NASA were using Russian capsules to send their astronauts to the ISS and the successful launch would allow them to being using SpaceX capsules to transport their astronauts.
“This really is an American achievement that spans many generations of NASA administrators and over a decade of work by the NASA team,” said Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the splash-down.
The successful demo now paves the way for two further launches, an high-altitude abort test, and the transportation of two astronauts to the ISS. Both launches are expected to take place in June and July respectively.
“It was an incredible journey to get to this moment,” he said. “The teams have just done an amazing job – both the SpaceX and the Nasa teams jointly,” said Benjamin Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX . “I can’t believe how well the whole mission has gone. Pretty much everything at every point everything’s been nailed all the way,” he added.
NASA and Boeing also have a contract for astronaut transportation, with Boeing set to demo their space capsule. However, it is SpaceX that still continues to lead the space exploration market and seems to be getting even more momentum.