Musk’s astronaut capsule completes first test flight

Dragon vehicle which Nasa hopes to use for missions this year lands in Atlantic Ocean

The uncrewed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first Commercial Crew vehicle to visit the International Space Station, with its nose cone open revealing its docking mechanism while approaching the station’s Harmony module. Photograph: EPA/Nasa Handout

The uncrewed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first Commercial Crew vehicle to visit the International Space Station, with its nose cone open revealing its docking mechanism while approaching the station’s Harmony module. Photograph: EPA/Nasa Handout

 

SpaceX’s new crew capsule has returned to Earth, ending its first test flight with an old-fashioned splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Dragon undocked from the International Space Station early on Friday. Six hours later, the capsule carrying a test dummy dropped into the Atlantic off the Florida coast.

This still image taken from Nasa TV, shows the splashdown of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Photograph: Jose Romero/Nasa TV/AFP
This still image taken from Nasa TV, shows the splashdown of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Photograph: Jose Romero/Nasa TV/AFP

A SpaceX rocket launched the 16ft-tall capsule from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Saturday.

It marks the first time in 50 years that a capsule designed for astronauts returned from space by plopping into the Atlantic.

Apollo 9 splashed down near the Bahamas on March 13th, 1969.

Nasa astronauts have been using Russian rockets since space shuttles retired eight years ago.

Nasa is counting on Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts this year.

Friday morning’s splashdown was the final hurdle of SpaceX’s six-day test flight. – AP/Reuters