SpaceX's Crew Dragon returns to shore after successful abort test (photos)

Space.com | 1/20/2020 | Amy Thompson
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule returned to port Sunday night (Jan. 19), hours after it flawlessly executed a test of its built-in, launch-escape system. The capsule was loaded onto a recovery ship after splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in port later that evening.

The capsule launched atop a veteran Falcon 9 rocket Sunday morning, lifting off at 10:30 a.m. EST (1530 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 9 minutes later, the capsule landed in the ocean under parachute, where one of SpaceX's recovery vessels — GO Searcher — was waiting.

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Crews aboard the vessel hauled the gumdrop-shaped capsule out of the water and secured it onto the deck. GO Searcher then headed back to port, arriving just before 7 p.m. EST (0000 GMT Monday). Excited onlookers lined the banks of Jetty Park, hoping to catch a glimpse of the craft as it made its way to the U.S. Navy's Trident Turning Basin, where it would be offloaded.

Related: SpaceX's amazing Crew Dragon in-flight abort test launch in photos

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Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, tweeted that the capsule had safely made it back to port following some recovery-op testing post splashdown. "She's back," he said on Twitter. "The Crew Dragon spacecraft that completed the in-flight abort test has arrived back at Cape Canaveral."

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