NASA / Bill Ingalls

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule causes a stir among NASA astronauts

By New scientist
and Press association

The SpaceX Crew Dragon landed in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2

NASA / Bill Ingalls

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are back on Earth after their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule was successfully hosed off.

The pair landed in the ocean off the Florida coast at around 7.48 p.m. on August 2, after being 19 hours from the International Space Station (ISS).

Mission Control said shortly after the spray: "Welcome on behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams to planet Earth. Thank you for flying SpaceX. "

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Behnken and Hurley made history on May 30 when they were the first people to launch into orbit close to Earth with a commercial spacecraft built by SpaceX.

Their mission, called Demo-2, was also the first time in nine years that NASA launched astronauts from U.S. soil after the space shuttle fleet was retired.

The splashdown ushered in a new era for NASA, which now has at least one commercial vehicle ready to launch people from the United States into space.

This was the final step in the mission to test SpaceX's human space system – including launch, docking, return, and recovery operations.

The first flight of the aerospace company, Crew-1, is expected to take place in September, where a second Crew Dragon spacecraft will carry four astronauts to the ISS.

The capsule that carried Hurley and Behnken there is being renovated and launched on SpaceX’s second crew-only operational mission, scheduled to take place early next year.

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