Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully lands in Gulf of Mexico
NEW YORK. KAZINFORM - The Crew Dragon manned spacecraft of the US company SpaceX splashed down in the Mexican Gulf off the coast of Florida on Sunday, according to a live broadcast on NASA’s website, TASS reports.
The capsule’s drogue parachutes deployed at the altitude of about 5.5 km. Shortly after, when the spacecraft descended to the altitude of 2 km, the four main chutes unfurled.
The splashdown took place at 14:48 EST (21:48 Moscow time). It was the first water landing by NASA since 1975, when the US space agency’s Apollo module returned to the Earth after the historic docking with Soviet Union’s Soyuz-19.
The spacecraft’s crew, US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, said they were feeling well.
«Congratulations SpaceX & NASA on completing first crewed Dragon flight!!! America returned,» SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter.
The rescue effort involved more than 40 personnel, two search and rescue vessels, two speed boats and several helicopters. One speedboat was used to check that the spacecraft is hermetically sealed, while the other recovered the parachute system. Astronauts were moved to the rescue vessel for a checkup and will be delivered to Florida by air or water in the coming hours.
US President Donald Trump congratulated everyone involved in the launch and landing in a Twitter post late on Sunday.
«Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after very successful two month mission. Thank you to all!» he said. «Astronauts complete first splashdown in 45 years. Very exciting!»
Crew Dragon undocked from the ISS in the automated mode at 19:35 CET on Saturday (2:35 Sunday Moscow time). It was launched to the ISS on May 30 atop the Falcon 9 rocket, making the first manned flight in nine years from the United States using a US spacecraft. NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. Subsequently, all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. It was originally thought that US commercial ships would begin manned flights in 2017.