Crew Dragon Splashes Down in Atlantic Ending First Commercial Crew Mission

Wrapping up the Demo-1 flight test that began one week ago today with liftoff aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is safely aboard the company’s recovery vessel, Go Searcher, following splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST on Friday, March 8, 2019. Image credit: NASA TV
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is safely aboard the company’s recovery vessel, Go Searcher, following splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST on Friday, March 8, 2019. Image credit: NASA TV

On March 2, a commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and the rocket was launched and underwent to the International Space Station.

Known as Demo-1, this is first of its kind of mission aimed to demonstrate the ability to safely fly missions with NASA astronauts to the orbital laboratory.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles off Florida’s east coast at 8:45 a.m. EST, Friday, March 8, 2019. Image credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Crew Dragon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles off Florida’s east coast at 8:45 a.m. EST, Friday, March 8, 2019. Image credit: NASA TV

As per the schedule, on March 8, the Crew Dragon spacecraft back to the Earth with a splash in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s eastern shore at 8:45 a.m. EST, completing an end-to-end flight test. About 200 miles off Florida’s east coast, SpaceX teams have recovered the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Atlantic Ocean and lifted it aboard SpaceX’s primary recovery ship, Go, Searcher.

It also brings some critical research samples from science investigations conducted to enable human exploration farther into space and develop and demonstrate in the U.S. ISS National Laboratory new technologies, treatments, and products for improving life on Earth.

NASA and SpaceX still have work to do to review the systems and flight data to validate the spacecraft’s performance and prepare it to fly astronauts. Already planned upgrades, additional qualification testing, and an in-flight abort test will occur before NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will climb aboard for Demo-2, the crewed flight test to the International Space Station that is necessary to certify Crew Dragon for routine operational missions.