Science

SpaceX Dragon: ISS astronaut taxi faces ‘MOST DANGEROUS’ test yet on re-entry

SpaceX Dragon: ISS astronaut taxi faces ‘MOST DANGEROUS’ test yet on re-entry”

The Crew Dragon is the first capsule made by a private company, as opposed to spaceships built by NASA, that is created to carry humans into space and been successfully launched into space. The capsule is SpaceX's first that is created to carry humans. Crew Dragon is now whirling through orbit and is scheduled to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 am ET after spending six days in space for the uncrewed demonstration mission. The first flight without crew is slated for no earlier than April and a crewed launch in late summer.

Returning to Earth is described as the toughest part of the mission.

The reentry is one of the biggest tests of the Dragon and of SpaceX, the company founded by Musk in 2002 with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Earth's orbit and beyond.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told Space.com that he is most concerned about the parachute system operating smoothly. If deemed a complete success, the mission would give NASA increased confidence in one of its prime contractors and propel the space agency a step closer to restoring human spaceflight from US soil.

A judge in that case gave Musk until Monday to say why he should not be held in contempt for violating the terms of the settlement.

SpaceX already has contracts with NASA to ferry cargo between Earth and the ISS, using its robotic Dragon cargo capsule.

ISS Crew Member Earth Continues Work Aboard the Station 1
Earth making sure she is on schedule | Image credit NASA Anne McClain

Ripley has sensors attached to her neck, head and spine.

NASA has been unable to fly its own astronauts since the final Space Shuttle retired in 2011, after which the space agency turned to the private sector to develop the next generation of human spaceflight hardware. The astronauts have been showing the Earth buddy around the space station.

The unmanned capsule's voyage marks a key milestone for Elon Musk's space company and NASA's long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from USA soil later this year.

But the capsule was also responsible for delivering supplies to the International Space Station. After docking at the ISS, the Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the capsule, describing it as a "business-class" experience.

They will be joined by three more crew members on March 14: NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin.



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