SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule Splashes Down in Atlantic Ocean


The Dragon undocked from the International Space Station early Friday.

The re-entry is one of the biggest tests of the Dragon and of SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002 with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Earth's orbit and beyond.

Protected by an advanced heat shield, the Crew Dragon quickly slowed in a blaze of atmospheric friction, rapidly shedding horizontal velocity and dropping steeply toward the Earth, descending along a northwest-to-southeast trajectory across the eastern United States.

We just hope there's no hungry xenomorph stowed away on the capsule.

The unmanned SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule touched down safely Friday morning in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship is also equipped with medical quarters and a helicopter pad so that, when crew is involved, it's ready for emergencies.

The craft did not carry a crew on this demonstration flight, which began on March 2 with a launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An American spacecraft created to carry astronauts has successfully completed a six-day test mission. The yells then turned into roars of cheering applause after Crew Dragon finally hit the water safely and well within sight of its recovery boats off the Florida coast. After five days docked at the Station, Crew Dragon disembarked and returned to Earth. The recently built spacecraft docked to the International Space Station (ISS) last week, its first test mission went according to plan. The capsule is SpaceX's first that is created to carry humans.

The first-of-a-kind mission brought 400 pounds of test equipment to the space station, including a dummy named Ripley outfitted with sensors around its head, neck, and spine to monitor how a flight would feel for a human.

Russia, one of Nasa's key partners on the space station, initially objected, citing concerns with SpaceX's computer systems that would fly the vehicle toward the station.

NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing a total of $6.8 billion to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit.

Despite the distractions, Friday's landing appeared to be another triumph for SpaceX, and validation of years of work.

The mission comes at a precarious time for brash billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder and CEO, who has come under fire for his sometimes erratic behaviour.

The Commercial Crew Program is the end result of a series of NASA-funded industry competitions in the wake of the shuttle's retirement to develop a new American spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from the space station.

Nasa has seed-funded Boeing to produce a capsule of its own called the Starliner.

During a video interview with reporters beamed to Earth on Thursday, Saint-Jacques said it looked "like a business class spacecraft".

"We were all very excited to see re-entry, parachute and drogue deploy, main deploy, splashdown - everything happened just perfectly". This mission carried out a number of firsts. Celestial Buddies, a Connecticut-based toy company that makes the toy had received no prior notice of the product's inclusion in the DM-1 mission.

NASA has been forced to rely on Russian Soyuz capsules to get personnel to and from the ISS ever since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011.