Live Updates: COVID-19 Cases
  • World 30,371,741
    World
    Confirmed: 30,371,741
    Active: 7,363,777
    Recovered: 22,057,029
    Death: 950,935
  • USA 6,874,596
    USA
    Confirmed: 6,874,596
    Active: 2,517,344
    Recovered: 4,155,039
    Death: 202,213
  • India 5,214,677
    India
    Confirmed: 5,214,677
    Active: 1,017,722
    Recovered: 4,112,551
    Death: 84,404
  • Brazil 4,457,443
    Brazil
    Confirmed: 4,457,443
    Active: 569,330
    Recovered: 3,753,082
    Death: 135,031
  • Russia 1,091,186
    Russia
    Confirmed: 1,091,186
    Active: 170,784
    Recovered: 901,207
    Death: 19,195
  • Peru 750,098
    Peru
    Confirmed: 750,098
    Active: 124,439
    Recovered: 594,513
    Death: 31,146
  • Mexico 684,113
    Mexico
    Confirmed: 684,113
    Active: 123,518
    Recovered: 488,416
    Death: 72,179
  • South Africa 655,572
    South Africa
    Confirmed: 655,572
    Active: 54,497
    Recovered: 585,303
    Death: 15,772
  • Spain 625,651
    Spain
    Confirmed: 625,651
    Active: 595,246
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 30,405
  • Chile 441,150
    Chile
    Confirmed: 441,150
    Active: 15,080
    Recovered: 413,928
    Death: 12,142
  • France 415,481
    France
    Confirmed: 415,481
    Active: 293,546
    Recovered: 90,840
    Death: 31,095
  • Iran 413,149
    Iran
    Confirmed: 413,149
    Active: 35,493
    Recovered: 353,848
    Death: 23,808
  • UK 381,614
    UK
    Confirmed: 381,614
    Active: 339,909
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 41,705
  • Bangladesh 344,264
    Bangladesh
    Confirmed: 344,264
    Active: 88,993
    Recovered: 250,412
    Death: 4,859
  • Saudi Arabia 328,144
    Saudi Arabia
    Confirmed: 328,144
    Active: 16,538
    Recovered: 307,207
    Death: 4,399
  • Pakistan 304,386
    Pakistan
    Confirmed: 304,386
    Active: 6,295
    Recovered: 291,683
    Death: 6,408
  • Turkey 298,039
    Turkey
    Confirmed: 298,039
    Active: 26,979
    Recovered: 263,745
    Death: 7,315
  • Italy 293,025
    Italy
    Confirmed: 293,025
    Active: 41,413
    Recovered: 215,954
    Death: 35,658
  • Germany 269,042
    Germany
    Confirmed: 269,042
    Active: 18,285
    Recovered: 241,300
    Death: 9,457
  • Canada 140,867
    Canada
    Confirmed: 140,867
    Active: 8,558
    Recovered: 123,109
    Death: 9,200
  • Netherlands 88,073
    Netherlands
    Confirmed: 88,073
    Active: 81,807
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 6,266
  • China 85,255
    China
    Confirmed: 85,255
    Active: 165
    Recovered: 80,456
    Death: 4,634
  • Australia 26,861
    Australia
    Confirmed: 26,861
    Active: 2,169
    Recovered: 23,855
    Death: 837
  • S. Korea 22,783
    S. Korea
    Confirmed: 22,783
    Active: 2,635
    Recovered: 19,771
    Death: 377
  • New Zealand 1,809
    New Zealand
    Confirmed: 1,809
    Active: 70
    Recovered: 1,714
    Death: 25

SpaceX capsule and NASA crew make 1st splashdown in 45 years

Author at TechGenyz Insights
SpaceX Capsule
A photo of a rescue team is rescuing an aircraft credit: @SpaceX-Imagery | Pixabay

Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to close out an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

It was the first splashdown by US astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch as early as next month and possible tourist flights next year.

Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arrived back on Earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour, less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida.

The capsule parachuted into the calm gulf waters about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola, hundreds of miles from Tropical Storm Isaias pounding Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX, said Mission Control from SpaceX headquarters.

It’s a little bit overwhelming to see everybody here considering the things that have gone on the last few months since we’ve been off-planet,” Hurley said after arriving back home in Houston Sunday evening where they were greeted by a small masked-gathering of family and officials, including Musk. Musk had rushed to Houston from SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, to welcome them. He was clearly moved and relieved while addressing the group.

I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one, he said.

The astronauts’ ride back to Earth was fast, bumpy and hot, at least on the outside.

The spacecraft went from a screaming orbital speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) to 350 mph (560 kph) during atmospheric reentry, and finally to 15 mph (24 kph) at splashdown. Peak heating during descent was 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius). The anticipated top G forces felt by the crew: four to five times the force of Earth’s gravity.

Within a half-hour of splashdown, the scorched and blistered 15-foot capsule was hoisted aboard a SpaceX recovery ship with a staff of more than 40, including doctors and nurses.

To keep the returning astronauts safe in the pandemic, the recovery crew quarantined for two weeks and were tested for the coronavirus.

The opening of the hatch was held up briefly by extra checks for toxic rocket fumes outside the capsule. After medical checkups, the astronauts were flown by helicopter to Pensacola and then to Houston.

There was one unexpected problem that could have endangered the operation: Once the capsule was in the water, private boats “just made a beeline for it, and got too close, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, promising to do better next time at keeping sightseers on pleasure boats safely away. NASA video showed one vessel flying a large campaign flag for President Donald Trump.

The Coast Guard in Pensacola said it had deployed two vessels to keep the public at least 10 miles away from the capsule.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who both attended the launch, congratulated the SpaceX and NASA teams.

Great to have NASA Astronauts return to Earth after a very successful two-month mission. Thank you to all! Trump tweeted.

The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, the scene of most splashdowns, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz.

The Mercury and Gemini crews in the early to mid-1960s parachuted into the Atlantic, while most of the later Apollo capsules hit the Pacific. The lone Russian splashdown was in 1976 on a partially frozen lake amid a blizzard following an aborted mission; the harrowing recovery took hours.

Gemini and Apollo astronaut Thomas Stafford the commander of the last crew to splash down watched the reentry on TV from his Florida home. While pleased with the crew’s safe return, he wasn’t overly impressed. It’s what we did over 50 years ago,” he said.

Its throwback splashdown aside, SpaceX made history with the mission, which launched May 30 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

It was the first time a private company launched people into orbit and also the first launch of NASA astronauts from home turf in nearly a decade. Hurley was the pilot of NASA’s last space shuttle flight in 2011 and the commander of this SpaceX flight.

NASA turned to SpaceX and also Boeing to build capsules and ferry astronauts to and from the space station, following the retirement of the shuttles.

Until Hurley and Behnken rocketed into orbit, NASA astronauts relied on Russian rockets. SpaceX already had experience hauling cargo to the space station, bringing those capsules back to a Pacific splashdown.

We are entering a new era of human spaceflight where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware. We’re going to be a customer, one customer of many.- Bridenstine, Administrator of Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“I would love to see a fleet of crew Dragons servicing not just the International Space Station but also commercial space stations. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell called the mission a springboard to doing even harder things, like collaborating on astronaut flights to the moon and then Mars.

A Houston company run by a former NASA official, meanwhile, has partnered with SpaceX to send three customers to the space station in fall 2021.

Career

Subscribe