Published: Sat, March 09, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Elon Musk's SpaceX capsule splashes down off Florida coast

Elon Musk's SpaceX capsule splashes down off Florida coast

The spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 a.m.

For now, SpaceX wins the day - and continue to forge a path between the USA and the International Space Station. Six hours later, the capsule carrying a test dummy parachuted into the ocean, a couple hundred miles off the Florida coast.

Boeing's Starliner crew capsule is poised to launch its maiden unmanned mission in April ahead of an August test flight carrying US astronauts Michael Fincke, Chris Ferguson and Nicole Mann.

NASA has been forced to rely on Russian Soyuz capsules to get personnel to and from the ISS ever since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011. Their vehicles-SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Boeing's CST-100 Starliner-will be NASA's primary means of transporting astronauts for the foreseeable future, ending nearly a decade of reliance on Russia's space program to launch American astronauts.

While Dragon´s crew member was a dummy named Ripley this time, the mission sets the stage for a manned flight, which will see two U.S. astronauts book a return trip to the ISS.

The Crew Dragon capsule is the next big step in SpaceX's evolution, but it also represents something bigger: NASA's partnership with the commercial space industry. Success will also mean that "Earthy", a plush anthropomorphic doll of our planet, will be coming home from the space station.

Musk's tweet was his reaction an article, published by the Ars Technica technology news outlet, about Russia's reaction to the recent launch of SpaceX-manufactured Crew Dragon vehicle and its docking to the International Space Station (ISS).

On March 2, SpaceX launched the first test flight of its Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Separately, Boeing is scheduled to carry out an unmanned demo mission in April of its Starliner capsule. All this is "leading to a day where we are launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil", he said. They have a good relationship, or at least appear to get along well, and Russian Federation has shouldered the responsibility of getting NASA astronauts into space. Now, Crew Dragon is back, and it doesn't look so new. The Starliner is created to land on land - in the U.S. Southwest.

NASA's current schedule calls for an in-flight abort test of Crew Dragon, using the same capsule as flown on Demo-1, in June.

NASA awarded the first contracts in 2014 to SpaceX and Boeing, now totalling about $8 billion.

The space station's three-member crew greeted the capsule last Sunday, with USA astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques entering Crew Dragon's cabin to carry out air-quality tests and inspections. The dummy was fitted with sensors around its head, neck, and back for an experiment created to test how a flight would feel for humans.

Last Sunday, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the Dragon when it arrived and the last to leave.

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