The SpaceX Crew Dragon has had a successful return to Earth. The splashdown was scheduled to happen at 2:48 p.m. Eastern, and it happened right on time. The Crew Dragon undocked from the International Space Station at 7:35 p.m. Eastern on August 1. The Dragon Endeavour was set on its orbital path at 1:48 a.m. Eastern on August 2, ready to splashdown off Pensacola, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico this afternoon, NASA shared. Everything went on schedule and just as expected.
As the successful splashdown happened, Mission Control excitedly said: “Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX!”
Watch the Moment the Crew Dragon Returned to Earth
You can watch the moment of the splashdown in the video below.
Below are photos showing the splashdown from NASA’s live feed.
The launch of the Crew Dragon in May was the first human flight to space from the Kennedy Space Center in nine years, NASA shared. This was also the final step before NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station. This test flight was an important step in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, whose goal is to ultimately provide safe transportation to and from the International Space Station. The launch is known as the Demo-2, demonstrating SpaceX’s ability to fly astronauts safely to and from the space station.
Here’s a look at the capsule after splashdown:
The successful splashdown included a successful deployment of drogue parachutes, followed by a second deployment of four main, larger parachutes.
Ships immediately responded to the splashdown. One first checked to ensure there were no toxic fumes while the other worked to remove the parachutes from the ocean, CNN reported.
Ships in the area were asked to leave so the astronauts could be extracted safely. The SpaceX recovery vessel, “GO Navigator,” was retrieving the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the astronauts inside, NASA shared.
Here’s another photo of the approach to the Crew Dragon.
A Press Conference Is Scheduled for 4:30 PM Eastern
A press conference is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Eastern today. You can watch that on NASA’s live stream below, along with updates on the mission.
NASA noted that the press conference will include:
- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
- Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
- Joel Montalbano, manager of NASA’s International Space Station Program
- Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer at SpaceX
- SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Then on Tuesday, August 4 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern, a Demo-2 news conference will take place with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
This was the first splashdown for NASA astronauts in 45 years, WESH reported. It was also the first time a private company brought astronauts back from orbit. The historic moment went exactly as planned.
READ NEXT: The latest COVID-19 deaths, cases, and updates