Two NASA astronauts completed SpaceX Dragon Splashdown, high-speed journey back from the International Space Station on Sunday, splashing down in calm Gulf of Mexico waters after 45 years. The splashdown closes down an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
The two astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley rode the SpaceX Dragon capsule “Endeavour”. They left the ISS at 7:35 p.m. ET Saturday evening and orbited Earth at 27,358 k.p.h. Then after a proper entry, the crew floated down with a quartet of parachutes and splashed at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday.
“On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome home and thanks for flying SpaceX,” mission control radioed to the spacecraft after it landed. Astronaut Hurley’s safe landing was confirmed with his response, “It’s truly our honor and privilege. On behalf of Dragon Endeavour, congrats to NASA and SpaceX.”
The maneuver was the first splashdown by US astronauts in the last 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The last time when any space flight splashed down in the water was the Apollo-Soyuz, a joint U.S.-Soviet mission in 1975.
Amid the turmoil of the Coronavirus pandemic and the death of civilian George Floyd, the launch faced numerous hurdles to stumble upon. But among all these setbacks, SpaceX CEO, Musk, has safely carried out the responsibility of getting the astronauts back to their families.
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Interesting Facts About the NASA-SpaceX Splashdown
- Former President Barack Obama gave the green light for entrusting the private sector and emerging private companies with the lives of its astronauts going into outer space.
- The temperature of the capsule during the entry was recorded at 1,900 ℃. The top G Forces felt by the crew was equal to four to five times the force of Earth’s gravity.
- Elon Musk, along with several others, monitored the descent and splashdown from SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California.
- A SpaceX recovery ship “GO Navigator” with more than 40 staff, including doctors and nurses, moved in the following splashdown. The recovery ship was preceded by two smaller, faster boats.
- To keep the returning astronauts safe in the pandemic, the recovery crew quarantined for two weeks and were tested for the coronavirus
- The astronauts had plenty of seasick bags if needed while waiting in the bobbing capsule while in the ocean.
- The launch of the two astronauts was made on May 30, 2020, from the Kennedy Space Center, situated in Merritt Island, Florida.
- With the successful completion of the mission, gates for new opportunities have been opened for SpaceX and Elon Musk.
- Airplane maker ‘Boeing’ is also partnering with SpaceX to accommodate space travel.
- A Houston company run by a former Nasa official has partnered with SpaceX to send three customers to the space station in the fall of 2021.