A SpaceX Crew Dragon launched aboard a Falcon 9 on Saturday, March 2 has safely returned to Earth. The spacecraft’s successful splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean completes the final leg of what was a near faultless unmanned demonstration mission.
After successful undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this morning, the DM-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft executed a deorbit burn at 12:43 UTC (07:43 EST). Following a tense few moments of expected signal loss, the spacecraft came into view over the Atlantic ocean under its two pilot chutes. Soon after, the pilot chutes made way for the Crew Dragon’s four orange and white main chutes. At 14:45 UTC (8:45 EST) the spacecraft safely splashed down with two SpaceX fast recovery boats meeting it moments later.
“Today’s successful splashdown of the SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Dragon capsule after its mission to International Space Station marked another milestone in a new era of human spaceflight,” said NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine. “NASA Commercial Crew is one step closer to launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil.”
Recovery operations of the DM-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft are currently underway.
The DM-1 Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre at 07:49 UTC (02:49 EST) on Saturday, March 2. A little over a day later, the spacecraft successfully docked with international docking adaptor at the forward end of the Harmony module of the ISS. It carried 180 kilograms (400 pounds) of supplies, a dummy crew member in a SpaceX flight suit and what SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk described as “Super High Tech Zero-G Indicator”.