SpaceX capsule back on Earth, paving way for new manned US flights

This still image taken from NASA TV shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely aboard the company's recovery vessel following
This still image taken from NASA TV shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely aboard the company's recovery vessel following splashdown on March 8, 2019

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, completing a NASA demonstration mission that paves the way for the resumption of manned space flights from the US.

After hours of suspense, the Dragon spacecraft touched down at 8:45 am (1345 GMT) some 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the coast of the US state of Florida.

The seven-seat capsule brought its "crew" of one test dummy back to Earth in the same way that American astronauts returned to the planet in the Apollo era in the 1960s and 1970s, before the 1981-2011 Space Shuttle Program.

NASA TV footage showed the capsule drifting down into the ocean, its descent slowed by its four main orange and white parachutes, which gently folded into the water around it as boats sped toward the site.

Pending the analysis of flight data, everything indicated that SpaceX—founded in 2002 by Elon Musk—had passed its test from beginning to end, a result that drew widespread praise.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine hailed the splashdown, saying it "marked another milestone in a new era of human spaceflight."

The head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos sent his congratulations via Twitter to his "dear colleagues Jim Bridenstine and Elon Musk!"

Parachutes opened as the SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on March 8, 2019
Parachutes opened as the SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on March 8, 2019

And former president Barack Obama noted that it was his government that launched the commercialization of astronaut space transport. "We invested in the @Commercial_Crew program to strengthen the U.S. space program for the long haul, and it's great to see that happening," he tweeted.

Launched on March 2 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Dragon docked at ISS the following day before successfully undocking Friday some 250 miles over Sudan.

The re-entry into Earth's atmosphere tested the vehicle's heat shield for the first time, and Musk had previously said that the phase was "probably my biggest concern."

Even though the capsule came back to Earth looking like a "toasted marshmallow"—in the words of SpaceX engineer Kate Tice—the heat shield held.

Preparation for crewed mission

While Dragon's crew member was a dummy named Ripley this time, the mission sets the stage for a manned flight, which will see two US astronauts book a return trip to the ISS.

A video grab taken from a NASA/SpaceX webcast transmission on March 3, 2019 shows SpaceX Dragon capsule docked at the Internatio
A video grab taken from a NASA/SpaceX webcast transmission on March 3, 2019 shows SpaceX Dragon capsule docked at the International Space Station

In June, the capsule's in-flight abort system will be put to the test: the rocket will take off without human passengers, after which the capsule will eject using its own engines and return safely in a simulation of an incident.

"I don't think we saw really anything in the mission, so far—and we've got to do the data reviews—that would preclude us having the crewed mission later this year," Steve Stich, deputy program manager at NASA, said on Friday.

Separately, Boeing is scheduled to carry out an unmanned demo mission in April of its Starliner capsule.

Both systems must give NASA two independent means—and at a lower cost than that of the Space Shuttle Program—to access the ISS by 2020.

The SpaceX mission represents the first private venture to the ISS, as well as the first time a space vessel capable of carrying people was launched by the US in eight years.

Dragon also marks a return to a "vintage" format: it is the first US capsule since the pioneering Apollo program.

A dummy named Ripley rides inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule on a mission that sets the stage for the resumption of manned space
A dummy named Ripley rides inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule on a mission that sets the stage for the resumption of manned space flights from the US

Capsules have no wings and fall to Earth, their descent slowed only by parachutes—much like the Russian Soyuz craft, which lands in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

The last generation of US spacecraft, the space shuttles, landed like airplanes. Shuttles took American astronauts to space from 1981 to 2011, but their cost proved prohibitive, while two of the original four craft had catastrophic accidents, killing 14 crew members.

Until SpaceX and Boeing are certified by NASA, Russia will continue to be the only country taking humans to the ISS. NASA buys seats for its astronauts, who train with their Russian cosmonaut counterparts.


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Dragon capsule successfully separates from rocket: SpaceX

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Mar 08, 2019
I wonder if the capsules will ever become reusable?

Mar 08, 2019
I wonder if the capsules will ever become reusable?


I think they just replace the heat shielding and put a new parachute on it. It's still the same sort of ceramic tiles that the space shuttles used to protect themselves on re-entry. Just fewer moving parts than the shuttles. Watch and see, but I'm 80% certain that these pods are totally reusable already.

Mar 08, 2019
I wonder if the capsules will ever become reusable?...Watch and see, but I'm 80% certain that these pods are totally reusable already
Anybody ever tell you guys you're on the internet??

"Dragon 2 includes the following features:

"Reusability: partly reusable; can be flown multiple times, resulting in a significant cost reduction. Dragon 2 is only planned to fly crew on the first flight of a particular capsule, while future flights of a capsule would carry only cargo"

Mar 08, 2019
Hmm... wonder what the view through that window would be like as flames shoot by.
Appropriate name -- Dragon.

Mar 08, 2019
I really, truly wish that the Last Lawful President of these United States, Barack Obama, had not tweeted his congratulations for a successful prototype mission & his encouragement for continuing Commercial & NASA co-operations.

Now the Bogus POTUS, trumpsterfire, is going to go off on one of his infantile tantrums. Demanding all the credit while the trump crime family tries to steal all the private & public funding.

putin baby!
Whatever did we do to you?
So bad?
That you appointed this senile buffoon America's gauleiter?

Sure trumpenella owes you a fortune or three. But if you let him continue to destroy our economy? There will be damn little left for your Spetzna thugs to collect.
& those expense lines on the maintenance budgets for all the trumpchump's deteriorating holding's?
That money was all embezzled in payoffs fto the RNC & NRA & their vote-buying campaigns.

To buy the proverbial company of whores whenever they all convene with the evangelicals.

Mar 08, 2019
This is blatant discrimination: Where's Ripley's tickertape parade??

Mar 08, 2019
The decision to go with powered undocking instead of spring loaded was an interesting move. I'm surprised nasa let them hit the gas that close to the station.

Mar 09, 2019
I really, truly wish that the Last Lawful President of these United States, Barack Obama, had not tweeted his congratulations for a successful prototype mission & his encouragement for continuing Commercial & NASA co-operations.
Now the Bogus POTUS, trumpsterfire, is going to go off on one of his infantile tantrums. Demanding all the credit while the trump crime family tries to steal all the private & public funding.
putin baby!
Whatever did we do to you?
Sure trumpenella owes you a fortune or three. But if you let him continue to destroy our economy? There will be damn little left for your Spetzna thugs to co all the trumpchump's deteriorating holding's?
That money was all embezzled in payoffs fto the RNC & NRA & their vote-buying campaigns.

To buy the proverbial company of whores whenever they all convene with the evangelicals.

says the Communist sympathiser, rrwilliejoe

What? Thought you'd be in Venezuela fighting for Maduro, by now - you Commie lover

Mar 09, 2019
This is blatant discrimination: Where's Ripley's tickertape parade??
says RKStonjek

Must be a source of pride for actress, Sigourney Weaver to have a dummy named after her role in the "Alien" movies. She was great as Ripley - but the dummy, not so much.

Mar 09, 2019
The heat is on DRAGON FIRE in re-entry

The Nipponese set free their dragons
Nissan rockets
are going to be the order of space
Nissan are in the process of mass producing
car sized rocket capsules
capable of going into orbit
docking with the space station
landing on the moon
complete with four wheels
for the buggy drive of the life time
as when they pass through re-entry
they simply parachute home
so
you drive up your drive
and
proclaim
Honey, I'm back
From the moon

Jonathan King Everyone's Gone To The Moon
https://www.youtu...s2TPPyho

Mar 09, 2019
Watch and see, but I'm 80% certain that these pods are totally reusable already
-And why would anyone ever 5/5 someone who guessed about something he could look up in 5 seconds???

Oh I see... seu aka pussytard, the perennial guesser and fabricator (liar) under a dozen socks.

Mar 09, 2019
oh, sillyegghead. if I was a KGB trollbot like you?
I'd be in the next slot over from you, at one of the russian black web installations.
With all the rest of the denierbots, woobots & fakenewsbots
All of you whoring in service to your master pimp putin.

It's very amusing to watch ab ignorant fascist quisling try to insult me with a historically obsolete pejorative slogan as 'communist".

Why not Tory or Mandarin?

Personally. I consider marxism & all the other varieties of Left Fascism to be without any difference from the level of stupidity displayed by you Right Fascists.

"Looking back & forth at the celebration. None could see any difference in behavior, between the humans & the swine."

If all of you were any closer to the edge of your Flat Earth?
You stumblebums would be knocking each other off into the void.

& Good Riddance!

Mar 09, 2019
Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
Ollie is the Dragon...

Mar 09, 2019
Good show!

It's still the same sort of ceramic tiles that the space shuttles used to protect themselves on re-entry.


No, it is not ceramic and/or fiber or any of the 4 types of tiles used in the US Space Shuttle in the bottom heat shield. (And famously the Russian Space Shuttle used superior tile materials.)

It is - famously even, since they are SpaceX proprietary improvement, Musk just tweeted that it is their 3d iteration - ablative resin tiles, same as Apollo. Why not use the internet? https://www.nasa....-spacex/ , https://en.wikipe...n_system , http://www.buran-...lier.php .

the Last Lawful President of these United States


Marginal topic, erroneous, and inflammatory (crackpots may believe you). Again, why not use internet and check?

Mar 09, 2019
gee torbjorn, do you think that Iperhaps instead,
I should have used the term
"Last Law Abiding" President
of these United States?

Cause when a copperhead
is rearing up, hissing at me?
& presenting it's fangs?

In quick succession...
I lose my equanimity.
my patience &
any kindly urge
to be courteous,
as I swing my hoe!

Mar 12, 2019
Watch and see, but I'm 80% certain that these pods are totally reusable already
-And why would anyone ever 5/5 someone who guessed about something he could look up in 5 seconds???

Oh I see... seu aka pussytard, the perennial guesser and fabricator (liar) under a dozen socks.

says the original lonely pussytard, SpookyOtto

What sox are you referring to, tardo? I never made any sox. Hey, maybe I'm YOUR sock, you idiot. Give us the names of all your sox, you schithead.

Mar 12, 2019
Oh I see what has happened and why the schithead, ghostlyotto thought that I was the one who said: "Watch and see..."

SciTechdude3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 08, 2019
I wonder if the capsules will ever become reusable?

I think they just replace the heat shielding and put a new parachute on it. It's still the same sort of ceramic tiles that the space shuttles used to protect themselves on re-entry. Just fewer moving parts than the shuttles. Watch and see, but I'm 80% certain that these pods are totally reusable already.

- SpookyOtto has been hitting the liquor cabinet, apparently. Still making up schitt about his fellow commentators having sox. That's the second time. I'm keeping a record of it. Pathetic.

Mar 12, 2019
yes dillyegghead,
yes you are the very definition of pathetic.
Ypur drunken russian programmer is doing a "pathetic" job of remembering which lies you are to parrot as his ventriliquist dummy.
Needs to sober up a bit & try not to have your script contradict itself so often.
Remember sillyegghead,
your master pimp putin is always watching all your screwups!

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