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Photos, Video of SpaceX Crew Dragon Splashdown in Atlantic Ocean, When is Demo 2?

SpaceX and NASA reached a milestone Friday when the Crew Dragon capsule splashed down into the ocean about a week after its launch to the International Space Station and a five-day stay on board. 

The Demo 1 was the first flight test for the Crew Dragon craft that is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The program is meant to bring NASA and private companies together to launch United States astronauts to and from space without the aid of other countries space agencies. 

crew dragon in ocean The SpaceX Crew Dragon craft during its recovery from the Atlantic Ocean following its splash landing after returning to Earth from the International Space Station. NASA/SpaceX

After the successful first demonstration of the craft the second one will likely be on schedule. Demo-2, the crewed test of the Dragon craft, is scheduled for July, but before that there will have to be an in-flight abort test of the craft. 

"This is an amazing achievement in American history," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine Friday. "This really is an American achievement that spans many generations of NASA administrators and in fact over a decade of work by the NASA team," he said.

"These are all capabilities that are leading to a day where we are launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," Bridenstine said. 

The craft can autonomously dock and undock from the ISS and early Friday morning, around 2:35 a.m. EST the craft did just that by autonomously undocking from the station. Both NASA and SpaceX documented the entire trip from leaving the station back to Earth. 

After leaving the station Crew Dragon then spent the next several hours tracking away from the station and getting on track to reenter Earth's atmosphere. The Crew Dragon can be moved with a series of burns that push it through space.

A series of four burns total were executed to get Crew Dragon into place for a departure burn. That deorbit burn happened at 7:53 a.m. EST, according to NASA. 

While the craft was making its way back to Earth, people were preparing to retrieve it from the water once it splashed down. The SpaceX ship "Go Searcher" was in the Atlantic Ocean on standby waiting to use a crane to pull the craft out of the water.

The craft went through a burn as it entered the atmosphere, its trail could be seen on the live stream from NASA. 

Drogue parachutes were deployed first to help with initial slowing of the craft. 

Larger parachutes were deployed minutes later to slow the craft further before it hit the water 

Video of the Dragon's splashdown is already available. The video shows the deployed parachutes from the craft helping to slow it before it lands in the Atlantic to be retrieved. The craft splashed down right at 8:45 a.m. as was expected. 

After that successful splashdown at 8:45 a.m. the SpaceX ship took the craft out of the water to bring it back to land. 

The full video of the Crew Dragon's trip home is already available online along with commentary from NASA and SpaceX officials. 

 

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