After hours of suspense, the Crew Dragon touched down in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 am some 230 miles (370 kilometers) off the coast of the U.S. state of Florida.The 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.NASA TV footage showed the capsule gently drifting into the ocean, its decent slowed by its four main orange and white parachutes, which folded into the water around it as boats sped toward the site. "I don't think we saw really anything in the mission so far - we've got to do the data reviews - that would preclude us from having a crewed mission later this year." said Steve Stitch, the crew program's deputy manager with NASA.
The uncrewed Dragon launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on March 2 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, docking with the International Space Station 27 hours later. "It was attractive", said Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX. The live stream showed its protective shell had been weathered from intense heat during re-entry.
Crew Dragon carried a passenger on this flight test - a lifelike test device named Ripley, which was outfitted with sensors to provide data about potential effects on humans traveling in the spacecraft.
The Premieres of SpaceX's Crew Dragon First Flight into Space
The Dragon brought supplies and equipment to the space station where it stayed five days as astronauts conducted tests and inspected the Dragon's cabin.
Results from this mission will determine whether SpaceX can stick to its current 2019 test schedule following previous development delays for the Hawthorne, California-based company and Boeing.
The U.S. relies on Russian Federation to launch astronauts to the space station, at a cost of about $80 million per ticket.More news: Man arrested for choking driver who wouldn't stop singing Christmas carols
About 6 hours after departing the space station, Crew Dragon splashed down at 8:45 a.m. EST approximately 230 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The short-notice solicitation, posted on February 13, "provides flexibility and back-up capability" as the companies build their rocket-and-capsule launch systems.
Demonstration Mission-1 (Demo-1) was an uncrewed flight test created to demonstrate a new commercial capability developed under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.More news: NBA fines Thunder's George $25K for ripping referees
Bridenstine told Reuters the cost per seat on the Boeing or SpaceX systems would be lower than for the shuttle or Soyuz.
The re-entry into Earth's atmosphere tested the vehicle's heat shield for the first time, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk had previously said that the phase was "probably my biggest concern".More news: Are We About to Get a Gay Superhero in New Marvel Franchise?