ISS Crew Member Earth Continues Work Aboard the Station

08 March, 2019, 15:26 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • This still image taken from NASA TV shows SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely aboard the company's recovery vessel following splashdown

- The first human-rated commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station departed early Friday morning from the orbiting laboratory.

The reentry is one of the biggest tests of the Dragon and of SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002 with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Earth's orbit and beyond.

An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk's SpaceX was due to return to earth on Friday after a short-term stay on the International Space Station, capping the first orbital test mission in NASA's long-delayed quest to resume human space flight from USA soil later this year. The mannequin, named Ripley, was equipped with sensors to help better understand what astronauts will experience when they launch on the capsule. The astronauts have been showing the Earth buddy around the space station. The capsule will return with Ripley and research samples on board, but the cuddly Earth will remain behind on the ISS.

Crew Dragon undocks from the ISS.

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Canadian station astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the Dragon when it arrived and the last to leave.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft disembarked from the International Space Station early Friday, making a journey toward Earth the company hopes will end with a successful splashdown in the Atlantic ocean. It carried approximately 400 pounds of equipment, food and other supplies the astronauts need in order to continue their work. The data from the demonstration-1 flight is part of the process to secure certification from NASA to fly crew. NASA is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts this year.

NASA has been unable to fly its own astronauts since the final Space Shuttle retired in 2011, after which the space agency turned to the private sector to develop the next generation of human spaceflight hardware. And the first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, is slated for July, according to NASA's most recent schedule. Boeing received $4.2 billion to build the CST-100 spacecraft and SpaceX received $2.6 billion to build its Dragon V2 spacecraft, or Crew Dragon.

Even if Crew Dragon passes scrutiny for the Demo-1 mission, there's another giant test: an "in-flight abort" that will showcase the Crew Dragon's safety features should something go wrong during launch.

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