After traveling miles from the earth, the fiery Crew Dragon splashed down in the cold and subtle water of the Gulf of Mexico. Adding to the list of NASA’s successful missions, it will be marked as a historical incident for SpaceX as well. Because it was a combined NASA SpaceX Mission.
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley spend around two months revolving in the International Space Station boarding in their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
The entire team of NASA and SpaceX acclaimed in joy on 3 August as the ground team of SpaceX got the signal of Dragon Capsule returning home. They welcomed Behnken and Hurley over the radio, saying, “Welcome back to planet Earth,” “Thanks for flying SpaceX.”?
The mission was seriously a rocket science which held the breath of everyone involved.
It was the second time a Crew Dragon capsule returned safely from safe — and the first time it made its way back safely with a human crew on board. The chairman of SpaceX, Elon Musk, himself, watched the mission at SpaceX’s mission control in Hawthorne, California.
What was the NASA SpaceX mission?
In the presidential era of former president Barack Obama, a decision was made to endow the private sector with astronauts’ lives. The mission marked being the milestone of the decision.
Two months prior, two NASA astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken put their legs forward to make history in space. The two astronauts boarded SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, which was historically launched from Kennedy Space Center.
The primary and final task was to bring them home safely. The mission was critical from many angles; it involved the risk of lives and property and science. But the splashing of the astronauts’ parachutes filled the hearts with joy as the mission was marked as ‘Successful.’
How did it happen?
Bringing it home was a significant and difficult task.
- At 7:35 pm the spacecraft was undocked from the space station to make its journey back to earth. At the time of undocking, the spacecraft was orbiting the earth at 17,500 m.p.h.
- To begin the process of returning home, the crew dragon ignited the thruster engines. It was a dangerous stage as the spacecraft was orbiting in the thickest part of the earth’s atmosphere, with 17,500 miles per hour speed.
- Fuhrer, Crew Dragon, jettisoned its trunk, which was not needed for the splashdown. Also, it was essential to keep the astronauts safe from the intense energy that was released.
- After this, the crew dragon lifted its engines for deorbit burn, which marked the spacecraft’s plunging back towards the earth’s atmosphere.
- The speed of spacecraft slowed down from 17,500 miles per hour to roughly 350 miles per hour before deploying parachutes.
- The crew dragon closed the nose cone as they were ready for the splashdown. It was essential to keep the nose cone sealed, as the spacecraft could be further used on future missions.
- As the capsule began to come closer to the earth’s surface, it started to decelerate, but the breath hanged when there was a communication blackout. Due to the extreme heat and plasma buildup, a six-minute communications blackout was caused.
- Fortunately, the connections were restored after 6 minutes. After which, the first set of parachutes, called “drogue parachutes,” stretched up following it, a second plume of four main parachutes flung out for the splashdown.
- And finally, the hardest part of the journey, the capsule splashed down into the Gulf of Mexico from where the rescue team rushed to help the astronauts.
And that is how history was created!
Why is the mission important?
The NASA SpaceX mission was essential and historic because it is the first time NASA astronauts had launched from the United States since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011. Also, it was the first time a private company designed a spacecraft for NASA astronauts.
It also attested to the spacecraft as it had never flown humans before. And luckily, the spacecraft passed the test by bringing the astronauts safely on the ground. Though, the astronauts were detected with some amount of nitrogen, which was snot toxic at all.
NASA informed the world by tweeting,
“Thanks for flying @SpaceX.”
📍 Current Location: Planet Earth
At 2:48 pm ET, @AstroBehnken, and @Astro_Doug splashed down, marking an American crew spacecraft’s first splashdown in 45 years. #LaunchAmerica
Roughly 19 hours later, the pair splashed down effortlessly in the Atlantic at exactly 2:48 pm EDT off Pensacola, Florida.
“Welcome back to planet Earth,” the SpaceX ground team told Behnken and Hurley over the radio. “Thanks for flying SpaceX.”