New York: Tesla co-founder Elon Musk owned SpaceX landed its capsule in the Gulf of Mexico successfully on Sunday. Here are the top points about the mission:
- This is the first time a private company has helped NASA carry out a space mission. “We are entering a new era of human spaceflight, where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This is really just the beginning; we are starting the journey of bringing people regularly to and from low Earth orbit, on to the Moon, and then ultimately on to Mars,” added Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX.
- This was America’s first crewed spaceship to fly to the International Space Station in nearly a decade.
- This was the first water landing after 45 years.
- The two astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, returned after two months. It took 18 hours for the return journey from the International Space Station.
- “On behalf of the NASA and SpaceX teams, welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” replied SpaceX’s Mike Heiman, to laughter in the control room.
- Temperatures reached as high as 3500 degrees Fahrenheit as the capsule plunged into the atmosphere at a speed of around 17,500 mph (28,000 kph). This caused an expected communication blackout for a brief time. The parachutes got the speed down to a mere 15 mph as it hit the Gulf of Mexico water.
- The hatch opening was slightly delayed as there was a rocket fuel vapour leak.
- The astronauts exited the capsule after an hour of landing. They headed for the shore on a helicopter from where they would be taken to Houston on a plane.
- In recent years, US had to rely on Russia for rides to space since the last Space Shuttle flew in 2011.
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX was founded in 2002 but has gone ahead of Boeing, its main competitor for commercial space travel.
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) August 2, 2020