With a dive into the Atlantic Ocean, the Demo-1 test mission of Crew Dragon, the SpaceX capsule designed to return to the United States the ability to bring men into space eight years after their departure, ended as scheduled. of the Space Shuttle. The success of the return journey with the Ripley mannequin, started over six hours ago with the automatic release from the International Space Station (ISS) and continued smoothly, paves the way for the first flight with two astronauts expected in July.
Nasa's chief administrator, Jim Bridenstine, is thrilled for the success of the mission, and on Twitter he remembers that today's result represents "another milestone in a new era for human flight in space". NASA's commercial flights program "takes a further step towards launching US astronauts on American rockets from American soil". The same US space agency remembers from its social profile a curious historical coincidence: just 50 years ago, on March 13, 1969, another vehicle designed for the transport of astronauts, the Apollo 9, returned to Earth with a dive into the Atlantic.
The Crew Drago Demo-1 mission, launched by Cape Canaveral last March 2 with the Falcon 9 rocket, is content (for now) of a mannequin: on board more than 180 kilograms of materials and supplies for the space station and a exception, the Ripley mannequin, equipped with sensors to measure the stresses to which the astronauts will be submitted in flesh and bone that will be launched in the summer. Sunday, March 3, the first real test bench for the capsule, which correctly carried out the docking to the Harmony of the Iss in a fully automatic, without the intervention of the robotic arm.
After five days of 'parking', this morning the capsule closed the door and at 8:32 (Italian time) has automatically released from the space station, starting the return journey. At around 1:50 pm it separated from the non-pressurized compartment containing the solar panel and the radiator, and immediately afterwards fired its propellers to leave the orbit: the operation took 15 minutes and a half and allowed Crew Dragon to roaching to the earth's atmosphere, while the 'Go Searcher' ship was already in place off the coast of Florida. The descent of the capsule lasted just over half an hour: braking in the last moments from the opening of the parachutes, it ended with a dip in the Atlantic between the applause of the Nasa technicians in the control room.
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