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Crew Dragon splashdown successfully. Returns NASA astronauts home

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The Crew Dragon splashdown successfully in the Gulf of Mexico at 12:18 AM IST. Returning NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley safely back to Earth.

SpaceX Crew Dragon splashdown successfully
SpaceX Crew Dragon splashdown successfully in the Gulf of Mexico (Credit: NASA)

Crew Dragon Splashdown Timeline

After a 2 month trip to Space Station, the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley was scheduled to return home. The splashdown was set for 12:18 AM IST, Aug.3rd (1948 GMT, Aug.2nd) off the coast of Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

After undocking to the Space Station 5:04 AM IST, Aug.2. After that Dragon performed all 4 planned departure burns to begin its journey back to Earth.

At 11:21 PM IST Dragon Endeavour performs claw separation. The claw is located on Crew Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule. (All times are given in Indian Standard Time)

  • 11:21 PM(Aug.2) – Trunk separation
  • 11:26 PM – Deorbit burn begins
  • 11:38 PM – Deorbit burn complete
  • 11:41 PM – Nosecone deploys
  • 12:02 AM(Aug.3) – Crew Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
  • 12:14 AM – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 560 KM per hour.
  • 12:15 AM – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 191 KM per hour.
  • 12:18 AM – Splashdown
Crew were taken out off the Dragon capsule
Crew were taken out off the Dragon capsule( Image Credit: NASA)

Historic Test Mission

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon was lifted off carrying NASA astronauts Bob and Doug on May 31st. It was the first crewed mission launched from the USA since the space shuttle mission was ended back in July 2011.

SpaceX falcon 9 carrying NASA astronauts on Crew Dragon for first crew test mission
SpaceX falcon 9 carrying NASA astronauts on Crew Dragon for first crew test mission (Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

What’s next?

Endeavour will be returned back to the SpaceX inspection and processing. Teams will examine the data and performance of the spacecraft throughout the test flight to complete the certification of the system to fly operational missions for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The process is expected to take about 6 weeks. After successful certification, the 1st operational mission will launch with Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialist Shannon Walker, mission specialist Soichi Noguchi from JAXA will launch on the Crew-1 mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 4 crew members will spend 6 months on the space station.

The launch is targeted for no earlier than late-September.

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