SpaceX Brought Two NASA Astronauts Back To Earth Safely
SpaceX successfully landed two NASA astronauts safely back on Earth following a 27-million-mile mission in orbit around the planet.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set off on their mission in the Crew Dragon capsule at the end of May on a Falcon 9 rocket – also supplied by SpaceX – in an attempt to demonstrate an astronaut ‘taxi service’ to and from Earth.
Their return involved a blistering 1,926-degree Celsius (3,500 Fahrenheit) return through Earth’s atmosphere and a high-stakes parachute deployment, which allowed the cone-shaped Crew Dragon to safely land in the ocean at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 2, in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Florida.
See the moment the capsule landed here:
Shortly before leaving the spaceship, which the astronauts named ‘Endeavour’, Behnken commented:
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.
Crew Dragon was privately designed, built, and operated by SpaceX using roughly $2.7 billion in contracts from NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Business Insider reports.
The launch of the capsule marked the first time NASA used a private company to transport one of its crews to orbit, and the first time the US has been able to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011.
As well as funding Crew Dragon, NASA’s money helped SpaceX create its newfound spaceflight capability and is funding about six other missions.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk celebrated the mission during a NASA TV broadcast after the landing, where he admitted he’d turned to a higher power to help the mission go well.
These are difficult times when there’s not that much good news. And I think this is one of those things that is universally good, no matter where you are on planet Earth. This is a good thing. And I hope it brightens your day.
I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.
NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine described the use of the private company as ‘the next era in human spaceflight’, explaining that NASA ‘gets to be a customer’, but that the space agency ‘don’t want to be the only ones that are operating with humans in space’.
President Donald Trump praised the safe return of the astronauts, writing on Twitter:
Thank you to all! Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission.
Crew Dragon will now be refurbished to fly again next year.
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