Watch the historic mission return from ISS today — SpaceX Crew Dragon

James Marshall
March 8, 2019

The launch systems are aimed at ending USA reliance on Russian Soyuz rockets for $80 million-per-seat rides to the $100 billion orbital research laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth. Orbit the planet: Check.

Crew members of International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 58 have continued to bring the unofficial DM-1 Crew Dragon "mascot" along as they complete station activities.

The adorable interactions between the ISS crew and the toy began when NASA astronaut Anne McClain included the plush Earth toy in the welcoming ceremony of the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station March 3, 2019.

Crew Dragon docked at the ISS on Sunday, 27 hours after blasting off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Saturday.

Crew Dragon will spend a little time in space before re-entering the atmosphere. NASA TV will track the deorbit and landing starting around 4:30 a.m. PT Friday.

The spaceship carried 180kg of supplies and test equipment, including a crash test dummy named Ripley, after Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien. The capsule will return with research samples on board, but the cuddly Earth will remain behind on the ISS. SpaceX's Go Searcher recovery ship will pick up the capsule from the water.

After this test flight and landing, the Crew Dragon will have to undergo an emergency abort system test, which is expected to take place in June, CNN reported.

No human spaceflight has launched from America since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, and Nasa has relied on Russian Soyuz modules to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS in the intervening years.

If Crew Dragon passes scrutiny for the Demo-1 mission, then astronauts could launch in a SpaceX capsule as early as midyear.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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