SpaceX's Crew Dragon Completes Historic Test Mission To The International Space Station

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

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

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

"I'd like to congratulate SpaceX and NASA on successfully carrying out this critical, uncrewed test flight".

Demonstration Mission-1 (Demo-1) was an uncrewed flight test created to demonstrate a new commercial capability developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

It was in March 2 when SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched from the Kennedy Space Center atop the Falcon 9 and on March 3, when it finally docked at the ISS.

First commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to launch from American soil on a mission to the space station.

An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX splashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, successfully completing a mission crucial to NASA's long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from US soil later this year.

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"Everything happened just perfectly, right on time the way that we expected it to", Benjamin Reed, SpaceX's director of crew mission management, said in a live stream from California.

The launch systems are aimed at ending USA reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for $80 million-per-seat rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above earth.

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. From the images we can see that the outer shell of the craft has suffered burns upon its re-entry into the atmosphere.

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. "Our NASA and SpaceX teams worked seamlessly not only in the lead-up to the flight but in how we managed the flight", said Steve Stich, deputy manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

When it returns, scientists will be able to see what the descent might be like for astronauts when they gather the data from Ripley, the sensor-equipped dummy aboard the Crew Dragon.

Ever since the U.S. shuttle program ended in 2011, astronauts - both American and those from other nations - have been dependent on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to go to and from the International Space Station (ISS). "It's not just for our own astronauts from NASA, but it's also going to carry up crew members from Canada, Europe, Japan and even Russian Federation". "I'm, personally, very anxious to hear how Ripley is feeling after they pull her out of the capsule and get her onto the recovery vehicle".

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