SpaceX Crew Dragon makes historic 1st splashdown to return NASA astronauts home
SpaceX's first astronaut mission for NASA is in the books.
A Crew Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley splashed down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida,at 2:48 p.m. EDT (1848 GMT) today (Aug. 2), bringing an end to SpaceX's historic Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Dragon Endeavour capsule splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 2., carrying two astronauts who had been on board the International Space Station. They landed with no issues.
"Welcome back to planet Earth," SpaceX's mission control radioed the two astronauts aboard the capsule, which is named Endeavour. "Thanks for flying SpaceX."
"It was truly our honor and privilege," Hurley radioed back. Just hours earlier, while still in space, Hurley said the experience is one he won't soon forget.
"It's hard to put into words just what it was like to be a part of this expedition — Expedition 63," Hurley said during a farewell ceremony aboard the space station on Saturday (Aug. 1), the day Endeavour undocked and began its journey home. "It'll be kind of a memory that will last a lifetime for me."
(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The SpaceX recovery ship GO Navigator met Endeavour and hoisted the capsule aboard shortly after splashdown. After a series of checkouts, recovery teams opened Endeavour's hatch at 3:59 p.m. EDT (1959 GMT) and extracted the two astronauts about 10 minutes later. Medical personnel can now begin assessing Behknen and Hurley, making sure the two spaceflyers are in good shape after their journey home from orbit.
We haven't seen such activity at sea for more than four decades. The most recent crewed ocean return occurred in July 1975, when NASA astronauts Tom Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton wrapped up the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project by splashing down in the middle of the Pacific.
A historic test mission
Demo-2 began on May 30, when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lofted Endeavour from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, kicking off a one-day trip to the station. It was the first crewed orbital launch to depart from the United States since the final flight of the space shuttle fleet in July 2011.
Since then, the United States had been dependent on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to ferry its astronauts to and from the station, at a price, most recently, of about $90 million per seat.Report a Typo
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