Elon Musk's SpaceX capsule splashes down off Florida coast

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

The landing technique is unique to SpaceX, as both Russia's veteran Soyuz capsule and Boeing's forthcoming Starliner are created to land on terra firma rather than at sea.

SpaceX's uncrewed mission began early Saturday, when its Falcon 9 rocket blasted off in the predawn darkness from a historic launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the crew of Apollo 11 began their journey to the lunar surface.

First commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to launch from American soil on a mission to the space station. While improvements still need to be made, the company aims to fly NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the next test flight. Both groups are big players in space and both have helped make the International Space Station what it is today. Thanks to a camera under Crew Dragon's open nosecone, thruster pulses were visible in the darkness-a rare sight to see for a spacecraft returning to Earth.

Canadian space station astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the Dragon capsule and the last to leave this week.

What now: Recovery crews are in place and Crew Dragon will be loaded onto the recovery ship.

Three more crew members - Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch - are scheduled to arrive at the space station aboard a Russian Soyuz crew capsule next week, on March 14.

The Crew Dragon never loses its built-in escape rockets, which eliminates that danger and simplifies the system overall. The recently built spacecraft docked to the International Space Station (ISS) last week, its first test mission went according to plan. About five hours later, after a 15-minute de-orbit burn, the Crew Dragon capsule floated down into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at 8:45 a.m. EST, buoyed first by two drogue parachutes and then by four main parachutes.

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

An American spacecraft created to carry astronauts has successfully completed a six-day test mission.

Beyond the NASA flights, Boeing and SpaceX could use their vehicles to offer space rides to tourists and others with the means to pay.

On the Crew Dragon, he noted, "the windows will be down near our feet on this vehicle".

The SpaceX project was undertaken together with the U.S. aerospace organization NASA, which now relies on the Russian space program and its Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle astronauts to the ISS research facility.

The mission has so far gone smoothly. However, SpaceX still has a lot of work to do to achieve its ultimate goal of launching astronauts.

Leading up to the re-entry, Musk had said he was anxious about whether the spacecraft would end up in an uncontrollable spin. "I think it's unlikely, we've run simulations a thousand times, but this is a possibility".

Elon Musk, the CEO of USA private aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, called Russia's rocket engineering "excellent" and said the country's rocket engines are the best now flying, also suggesting that the reusable version of Russia's Angara rocket would be "great".

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