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

SpaceX's swanky new crew capsule has undocked from the International Space Station and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown. 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 USA soil. After a five-day mission on the orbital outpost, Crew Dragon was set to autonomously detach about 2:30 a.m EST (0730 GMT) on Friday and descend to earth for an 8:45 a.m. splash-down off Florida's Cape Canaveral coast. 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. It was carrying about 400 pounds of supplies for the ISS and a space-suited dummy named Ripley, which is "fitted with sensors around the head, neck and spine to record everything an astronaut would experience throughout the mission". The astronauts have been showing the Earth buddy around the space station.

In 2014, NASA awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to develop spacecraft to launch USA astronauts.

Crew Dragon will spend a little time in space before re-entering the atmosphere. The capsule is SpaceX's first that is created to carry humans.

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NASA has always been relying on Russian rockets and spacecraft to ferry astronauts and cargo into the International Space Station since it retired its shuttle fleet in 2011. Boeing received $4.2 billion to build the CST-100 spacecraft and SpaceX received $2.6 billion to build its Dragon V2 spacecraft, or Crew Dragon.

Government officials still have safety concerns about both spacecrafts, according to a recent Reuters report and documents from NASA's safety advisory panel, all of which will need to be resolved before they can fly humans. The data from the demonstration-1 flight is part of the process to secure certification from NASA to fly crew.

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.

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The SpaceX Crew Dragon has almost completed its NASA Demo-1 mission.

The spacecraft will need to make a safe descent on Friday. The company plans to send astronauts onboard the Crew Dragon as early as this summer.

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