SpaceX splashed its Crew Dragon capsule into the Atlantic Ocean safely on Friday morning, completing the company's test flight to the International Space Station and moving the U.S. one step closer to being able to launch astronauts again.
This was the first time a privately-built spacecraft capable of carrying humans has visited the space station. Additionally, it has been nearly 50 years since the splash down of Apollo 9, which was the last spacecraft built for humans to return to the Atlantic Ocean.
Known as Demo-1, the mission is one of the final steps for Elon Musk's space company to receive NASA approval to fly astronauts on board the SpaceX Crew Dragon. While Demo-1 did not have any crew, in one of the seat's was a "lifelike" test device called Ripley in a SpaceX flight suit. Ripley, named after the main character of the 1979 movie "Alien," was equipped with sensors to provide SpaceX and NASA data about the spaceflight experience.
Scheduled for July, SpaceX mission Demo-2 will carry the company's first two NASA astronauts. The U.S. has not launched its own astronauts since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, relying on Russian rockets and capsules instead.
Under NASA parameters, SpaceX has one hour to recover Crew Dragon from the ocean. The capsule will then be returned to Port Canaveral, Florida, where inspections will begin ahead of SpaceX's next key test: an "in-flight abort," which will happen before the Demo-2 mission." CNBC
Enough said. pl