SpaceX Dragon's final test: Making it to Earth in one piece

ISS crew member and plush toy Earth continues work aboard the station

Photo: SpaceXView from the International Space Station of Dragon's forward hatchFalcon 9 launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon spacecraft in preparation for SpaceX's first demonstration mission under NASA's Commercial Crew programThe uncrewed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft just moments after undocking from the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon docked at the ISS on Sunday, 27 hours after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Saturday.

The goal for SpaceX and others competing in the new space race, such as Boeing with the CST-100 Starliner, is to perform manned missions to outer space for NASA and propel the government agency to spaceflight capabilities again.

But Elon Musk's space exploration company is one step ahead of Boeing, as it will get key data from this demo mission to make final adjustments ahead of its inaugural crewed flight.

Also aboard Crew Dragon was a "zero-g indicator", or a plush globe otherwise known as Little Earth, that was put on board to demonstrate when Crew Dragon entered microgravity.

The live view then switched to color cameras on SpaceX's recovery ship, the Go Searcher, which saw the drogue and main parachutes deploy successfully.

NASA resumed talks with Russia's space agency Roscosmos in February seeking two additional Soyuz seats for 2020 to maintain a USA presence on the space station amid delays in the commercial crew program.

Protected by an advanced heat shield, the Crew Dragon quickly slowed in a blaze of atmospheric friction, rapidly shedding horizontal velocity and dropping steeply toward the Earth, descending along a northwest-to-southeast trajectory across the eastern United States.

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

Musk's tweet was his reaction an article, published by the Ars Technica technology news outlet, about Russia's reaction to the recent launch of SpaceX-manufactured Crew Dragon vehicle and its docking to the International Space Station (ISS).

- 8:45 a.m. ET: Splashdown in the Atlantic, some 200 miles off the Florida coast.

SpaceX has been delivering goods to the ISS for several years now with its cargo version of the spacecraft. And the first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, is slated for July, according to NASA's most recent schedule.

An American spacecraft created to carry astronauts has successfully completed a six-day test mission. The Demo-2 flight vehicle that will carry humans to space is still under construction by SpaceX. But before astronauts can climb aboard, SpaceX has to prove Dragon is ready.

It marks the end of a highly successful and long-awaited debut of a crew-capable vehicle for the U.S., almost eight years after the last Space Shuttle touched down. But he said he thought it was "unlikely" since the company had run "simulations a thousand times".

The Crew Dragon drifts away from the ISS. NASA crew must train with the Russian crew for a period of time before launching under the agreement.

Russian Federation has been critical of SpaceX and Elon Musk before, and it's no secret that some of the biggest names in Russia's space science scene aren't super fond of the company or its boss.

Otto Warmbier's family rebukes Trump's defence of Kim Jong Un
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