This Sunday, August 2, a pair of NASA astronauts landed on earth the old-fashioned way, a parachute-held capsule fell into the Gulf of Mexico to end the first test flight for Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
For 45 years, astronauts have not landed on Earth with a parachute over the sea. It was the first time the trip was made with a commercially manufactured and operated spacecraft.
The success of the trip sets a precedent for the launch of another SpaceX crew, likely next month, and space tourism trips the following year.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were the astronauts who successfully returned to our planet on SpaceX’s Dragon ship. The capsule fell into calm waters of the gulf 40 miles from Pensacola and away from tropical storm Isaias.
“Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying with SpaceX,” stated Mission Control from the company’s headquarters. It really was an honor and a privilege for us, ”replied Hurley.
Astronauts emerged from the capsule an hour after landing. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken held up their thumbs as they headed to their checkup.
On its reentry into the atmosphere, the spacecraft reached a speed of over 17,000 miles per hour and dropped to 350 mph. The final speed at landing time was 15 miles per hour. The maximum temperature level was 1,900 degrees Celsius (3,500 Fahrenheit).
Approximately half an hour after landing, the capsule was already on the SpaceX recovery ship, where a crew of 40 people was waiting for them to give them medical attention and to save them.
The crew was quarantined two weeks before the recovery mission and tested for coronavirus as part of the security protocol.
“Everyone who has played Endeavor should take a moment to appreciate this day, particularly with everything that has happened this year,” said Hurley.