SpaceX Historic Achievement: The Crew Dragon 2 Brings Back NASA Astronauts Safely

Dhir Acharya - Aug 03, 2020


SpaceX Historic Achievement: The Crew Dragon 2 Brings Back NASA Astronauts Safely

SpaceX just did something that even its founder Elon Musk didn’t think possible in 2002: flying people into space and back from space.

SpaceX just did something that even its founder Elon Musk didn’t think possible in 2002: flying people into space and back from space.

Earlier this morning (India time), NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew back to Earth safely after orbiting the planet at a 43-million-kilometer distance from the surface. They flew in the new Crew Dragon spaceship of SpaceX, which landed at 2:48 PM ET in Florida.

The Dragon Crew 2 capsule landed on the sea
The Dragon Crew 2 capsule landed on the sea

Before this trip back to Earth, the crew was on board the International Space Station for 63 days, they then performed maneuvers to return home. The capsule survived going through the Earth’s atmosphere in a 1900-degree-C return, a parachute deployment, and a final splashdown. At around 4 PM ET, a NASA and SpaceX recovery crew pulled the men from their ship.

Even Elon Musk was worried about the landing due to the Endeavour’s uneven design as it had to carry the emergency escape system, which could make the capsule shake during the landing process, causing a loss of control or damages to parts of the capsule. Overcoming these challenges, the capsule would release its parachutes at 5.5 kilometers above the sea to slow down the landing and touch the water surface at about 24 km/h.

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken

Shortly before leaving the spaceship, which the astronauts named Endeavour, Behnken said:

“Thanks for doing the most difficult part and the most important part of human spaceflight: sending us into orbit and bringing us home safely. Thank you again for the good ship Endeavour.”

Elon Musk’s space company designed, built, and operate the capsule with a $2.7-billion contract from the Commercial Crew Program of NASA. With this money, the company was able to create its newfound spaceflight capability along with funding for 6 other missions, which include the demonstration flight of Hurley and Behnken, the Demo-2 launched on May 30.

The Crew Dragon2 capsule
The Crew Dragon2 capsule

And with this landing, SpaceX succeeded in its first crewed trip into space. It’s now the first private space agency that not only brought humans to space successfully but also took them home safely in its spaceship. This achievement will pave the way for more regular space flights for SpaceX in the future to carry more astronauts to outer space.

>>> The First Helicopter To Fly On Mars Is As Small As A Tennis Ball

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