SpaceX Crew Dragon success heralds a new era for NASA spaceflight

CNET | 3/8/2019 | Jackson Ryan
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SpaceX's Crew Dragon, the first commercial spacecraft built for humans to travel to the International Space Station, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning, ending a historic mission and beginning the next phase of human spaceflight.

A huge round of applause and cheers erupted at SpaceX mission control in California as the capsule hit the water. With that -- the first water landing in the Atlantic since Apollo 9 in 1969 -- SpaceX moved one step closer to sending humans into orbit.

Significant - Delays - Launch - Crew - Dragon

Significant delays hampered the launch of the Crew Dragon but on March 2 it finally achieved lift-off from storied Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. It then trailed the ISS for 24 hours before achieving a landmark docking via the station's Harmony module, and special docking adapter, on March 3.

The Crew Dragon re-entering the atmosphere on March 8.

ISS - Humans - Vehicle - Time - Space

While docked at the ISS, humans entered the vehicle for the first time ever, in space. It remained docked with the station until Thursday, at which point the hatch was closed and locked and the capsule was readied for its return. At 11:32 p.m. PT., it released a set of hooks from the ISS and slowly drifted away from the space laboratory with two short thruster firings. A dummy, lovingly known as Ripley and dressed in SpaceX's astronaut gear and a suite of sensors, was its lone crew member.

The Crew Dragon drifts away from the ISS.

Years - Humans - Moon - Time - America

"Fifty years after humans landed on the moon for the first time, America has driven a golden spike on the trail to new space exploration feats through the work of our commercial partner SpaceX and all the talented and dedicated flight controllers at NASA and our international partners," said Anne McClain, NASA flight engineer currently stationed at the ISS, as the capsule drifted...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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