It’s precisely a yr since SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 mission that noticed crewed launches and landings return to U.S. soil for the primary time for the reason that Area Shuttle program resulted in 2011.
The mission additionally marked the primary astronaut use of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which carried NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the Worldwide Area Station for a two-month keep. And that’s not all, as this was additionally the primary time for NASA to make use of a commercially constructed and operated American spacecraft for human spaceflight.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft started the Demo-2 mission atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Might 30, 2020.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
Throughout their time aboard the ISS, Hurley and Behnken labored on numerous scientific experiments, whereas Behnken participated in 4 spacewalks with fellow American astronaut Chris Cassidy. Each Hurley and Behnken additionally took half in occasions with media retailers and college students again on Earth, answering questions on their journey up on the Crew Dragon, in addition to about life on the house station.
After 64 days aboard the orbiting outpost, consideration switched to the return journey, with the Crew Dragon about to embark on its first-ever crewed re-entry into Earth’s environment, a process that places large stresses and strains on a house capsule. Seated inside Crew Dragon, Hurley and Behnken started their journey dwelling on August 1, 2020, splashing down within the Gulf of Mexico the next day. A short while after the astronauts’ secure return, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hailed the mission a success, saying it marked “a new age of house exploration” that can see commercially constructed know-how utilized in future crewed voyages to the moon, Mars, and even past.
Talking later concerning the journey dwelling aboard the Crew Dragon, Behnken stated the spacecraft “actually got here alive” and sounded “like an animal” because the car felt the complete pressure of re-entering Earth’s environment.
“As we descended by means of the environment, the thrusters have been firing virtually constantly … it doesn’t sound like a machine, it appears like an animal coming by means of the environment with all of the puffs which might be taking place from the thrusters and the environment,” Behnken stated.
Take pleasure in SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 mission over again with this complete assortment of photos that tells its story from launch to splashdown.
Since final yr’s Demo-2 mission, SpaceX has used its Crew Dragon capsule two extra instances, sending 4 astronauts to the house station on every of the flights. The Crew-1 astronauts have already returned, whereas the Crew-2 astronauts are at present aboard the ISS after arriving there in April.