By George Mancuso

After five days in orbit Crew Dragon Demo-1 undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and completed a picture-perfect landing with splashdown occurring at approximately 08:45 EST (1345 UTC) on March 8, 2019. The landing took place 230 miles off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, in sight of the recovery ships. The Dragon DEMO-1 spacecraft was taken aboard the SpaceX Go Searcher recovery ship. One crew member, Ziggy, the soft plush Earth doll, remained on the ISS.

The photo above shows Dragon DEMO-1 re-entry (picture take from WB-57 NASA high altitude aircraft). The photo below shows Dragon DEMO-1 hoisted aboard recovery ship (note sidewall staining from the PICA-X ablative heat shield).

Demo Mission 1 recovery

Notable mission accomplishments included:

  • First commercially-built and operated American Crew spacecraft and rocket to launch from American soil on a mission to the ISS;
  • First commercially-built and operated American Crew spacecraft to autonomously dock with the ISS;
  • First autonomous docking of a U.S. spacecraft to the ISS;
  • First use of a new International Docking Adapter (IDA) that connected the ISS and Crew Dragon.

The successful Crew DEMO-1 Mission now sets the stage for an in-flight abort test and DEMO-2 mission which is scheduled to fly astronauts to the ISS later this year.

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