A couple months ago, we watched as NASA and SpaceX launched two astronauts for a mission to the International Space Station. It was the first time in a long time that US astronauts were launched in a US craft from US soil. Today, we got to watch the happy ending to that mission, as SpaceX’s Crew Dragon splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico and both the spacecraft and the astronauts were successfully recovered.
Watching live on NASA TV was a fairly low-res event – most of the time, the images displayed were dim and hazy. But this did nothing to curb my excitement as we first saw images of Crew Dragon entering the Earth’s atmosphere, releasing the (counting… one… two!) drogue parachutes. Then, the four main chutes. Keeping pace with them as they decelerated (“Speed is nominal.”). And finally, SPLASHDOWN! (And, of course, the interminable waiting while they “sniffed” the spacecraft for hazardous gases and decontaminated it, before we could see the successful extraction of the astronauts.)
I took a few screen captures as I watched, but really, the actual photos from NASA are vastly superior. 🙂
“Welcome back to Planet Earth and thank you for flying SpaceX!”