SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule departed from the International Space Station today. The journey started early this morning to initiate its slow fall to Earth, finishing up its historic first test flight. The spacecraft undocked from the ISS at 2:32 a.m. Currently, the space vehicle is revolving through orbit. According to NASA, the capsule will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean at 08:45 a.m. NASA’s unscrewed test mission will finally end after spending six days in space. It will dive into the Atlantic Ocean 280 miles away from Florida’s coast. During the fall, it will use four parachutes which will fan out. Go Searcher; a boat intended to search and recover the vehicle will recover the capsule.
Its re-entry and successful landing is the final step of the six-day test mission. Until now the Crew Dragon completed all phases including a perfect launch and docking stage. It also includes a crew member who is a dummy, named Ripley. But if Crew Dragon passes all stages, it will carry two astronauts to the ISS in the next flight. NASA says probably the crewed mission with SpaceX vehicle will take place before the end of 2019. So the space agency is one step closer to ferry humans to and from the ISS.
The victory will end the dependence of the U.S. on Russia to fly American astronauts to and from the space. Since the retirement of Space Shuttle in 2011, NASA is unable to carry its astronauts from the American soil. Thus the space agency decided to move towards the private sector for developing the new space vehicle for its crew. On the other hand, another aerospace company is also creating a craft for the mission. NASA contracted both, SpaceX and Boeing worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion respectively. The space agency expected to start test flight in 2017, but delayed due to some issues. All in all, Elon Musk’s company is one step ahead of Boeing.