SpaceX Crew Dragon has safely undocked from the International Space Station (ISS), set for re-entry and splashdown to Earth after spending days at the orbital laboratory.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Crew Dragon undocked from the ISS at 2:32am ET on Friday, to begin the final phase of its uncrewed Demo-1 flight test.
“The spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return it and its cargo safely to Earth,” said National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the undocking.
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) March 8, 2019
In about five hours, the Crew Dragon will separate from its trunk whose exterior contains a solar array that provided power to Dragon and a radiator to reject heat.
Following separation, Crew Dragon’s thrusters will initiate the spacecraft’s deorbit burn at about 7:52 a.m.
The 15-minute, 25-second burn will place the Crew Dragon on its final re-entry path into Earth’s atmosphere.
The spacecraft is expected to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at about 8:45 a.m., its speed slowed by an enhanced parachute system in which drogue parachutes will deploy about four minutes before landing to unfurl four main chutes less than a minute later.
After Crew Dragon lands in the Atlantic Ocean, SpaceX’s recovery ship will recover it and return it to Port Canaveral, Florida to conclude its mission.
SpaceX’s inaugural mission with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is an important end-to-end test of the new system’s capabilities.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked the ISS on Sunday at 5:51am ET.