Scorched SpaceX Dragon Dazzles During Dramatic Night Return to Port Canaveral Closing Historic Test Flight: Photos

Scorched SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on deck of GO Searcher recovery ship arrives into Port Canaveral, FL late evening of March 9, 2019 some 35 hours after splashdown
at 8:45 a.m. EST March 8, in the Atlantic Ocean
approximately 230 miles northeast of Cape
Canaveral, Florida and hoisting on deck.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM – 10 March
2019



PORT CANAVERAL/KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL –  Looking like a toasted marshmallow SpaceX’s scorched
Crew Dragon spacecraft positively dazzled during a dramatic return to Port Canaveral
Saturday night, March 9, basking in the glow of floodlights on the deck of the
GO Searcher recovery boat that retrieved it from the sea after Friday morning’s
picture perfect splashdown – closing out a historic six day test flight to the
International Space Station (ISS) and back from Florida’s Space Coast.



The ‘fully successful’ test flight of SpaceX’s
commercially developed Crew Dragon on its maiden mission dubbed ‘Demo-1’ paves the
way towards a resumption of human launches from American soil as soon as this
summer – and a ‘new era’ in spaceflight spurred by public-private partnerships
and investments. 



Crew Dragon and GO Searcher sailed into the mouth
of Port Canaveral at about 9:25 p.m. EST March 9 under cover of darkness accompanied
by the SpaceX naval fleet of recovery and guide ships – but several hours later
than the late afternoon arrival in daylight originally foreseen.



Go
Searcher’s arrival in Port came about 35 hours after
Crew Dragon splashed down at 8:45 a.m. EST (1345 GMT) Friday,
March 8, in the At
lantic Ocean approximately
230 miles northeast of the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida – some six hours
after undocking from the forward port of the ISS Harmony module at 2:31 a.m.
EST
(0731 GMT). 



NASA and SpaceX indicated the port arrival
would take place about 30 hours after ocen retrieval depending on sea states – which
were good – and a variety of other factors. 



Crew Dragon’s port entrance  brought a hearty round of loud cheers and
clapping of congratulations from the crowd of a few hundred excited spectators and
media including Space UpClose as the ship sailed past Jetty Park Pier through
the park grounds along  the narrow
channel. 



Enjoy our expanding gallery of Space UpClose imagery.

Scorched SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on deck of GO Searcher
recovery ship arrives into Port Canaveral, FL late evening March 9, 2019 some
35 hours after splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST March 8, in the Atlantic Ocean
approximately 230 miles northeast
of Cape Canaveral, Florida and hoisting on deck.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
It was rather difficult to see GO Searcher
under the pitch black of night conditions, but luckily for us the Crew Dragon spacecraft
itself was illuminated by flood lights on deck.

Truly it was a surreal sight of multicolored pastels
– dominated by the heliport landing pad railings outlined in striking neon green
on top of the irregular stripes of burnt orange racing vertically around Dragon’s
exterior heat shield, plus purplish headlights on Go Searchers bow and
scattered red and blue lights in addition to the ships crew in multicolored safety
and protective vests and attire.


Scorched SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on deck of GO Searcher
recovery ship arrives into Port Canaveral, FL late evening March 9, 2019 some
35 hours after splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST March 8, in the Atlantic Ocean
approximately 230 miles northeast
of Cape Canaveral, Florida and hoisting on deck
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Overall after waiting several hours GO Searcher
took only a short trip through the port channel of perhaps 15 minutes – then quickly
turned sharp right (North) into the U.S. Navy’s highly secure Trident nuclear submarine
turn basin shortly after sailing past Jetty Park Peer.
After Go Searcher took Crew Dragon into the off
limits submarine base it was no longer visible to us behind military structures
and buildings.
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Under cover of darkness and out of sight the
SpaceX Crew Dragon was hoisted off the ship within a few hours shortly after midnight.
GO Searcher then docked at its normal berth on the Port’s north side by the OCISLY
drone ship.

Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
NASA’s requirement is to have the Dragon onboard
within 1 hour of splashdown and for Dragon to arrive in a port and to have the
crew to be transported to a nearby airport within 3 hours.

Under normal circumstances the crew would remain
onboard Go Searcher – unless there is a medial need to evacuate earlier. 

Scorched SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on deck of GO Searcher
recovery ship arrives into Port Canaveral, FL late evening March 9, 2019 some
35 hours after splashdown at 8:45 a.m. EST March 8, in the Atlantic Ocean
approximately 230 miles northeast
of Cape Canaveral, Florida and hoisting on deck
. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The Crew Dragon Demo-1 test flight served as
a shakedown cruise for the next flight with a crew of two NASA astronauts aboard. 







The Demo-2 test flight is scheduled for no
earlier than July and could easily slip a bit as SpaceX finishing building the
Crew Dragon, reviews the results thoroughly with NASA officials and implements lessons
learned from Demo-1.  



SpaceX’s Crew Dragon lifted off on this maiden
test flight dubbed Demo-1 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
at 2:49 a.m. EST (0749 GMT) Saturday, March 2 from historic Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s
Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Water reflection launch view as SpaceX
Falcon 9 soars off Launch Complex 39A at
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday,
March 2, 2019
carrying the company’s first commercially-built and operated Crew Dragon
spacecraft
to orbit for docking with the International Space Station (ISS) – as seen from VAB roof.  Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Crew Dragon is the first commercially built
American spacecraft designed to carry humans to the orbiting laboratory that
has actually docked.



The
SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner CST-100 human spacecraft are
currently development under
NASA’s $6.8 Billion Commercial Crew Program  (CCP) -with the goal to once
again
ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from American
soil on American rockets to end our sole reliance on the Russian Soyuz crew
capsule for the first time since the forced shutdown of NASA’s space shuttles in
2011.



SpaceX
was awarded a $2.6 Billion contract while Boeing received $4.2 Billion. Boeing
hopes to fly its maiden unmanned Starliner mission later this spring atop a ULA
Atlas V rocket followed by a manned mission later in the year. 

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interviewed live on BBC Breakfast
TV News about the successful SpaceX Crew Dragon launch and implications for future
spaceflight. Credit: BBC/Space UpClose

Watch for Ken’s ongoing onsite mission coverage
of SpaceX Demo-1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center. 



Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
topics.

………….



Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Learn more about the upcoming/recent ULA Delta 4 WGS-10, SpaceX Demo-1, Falcon 9 Nusantara Satu launch, USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16 launch
to ISS,  NASA missions, ULA Atlas &
Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
FL, evenings:

Mar
14/16
: “ULA Delta 4 WGS-10
launch, SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 and
Nusantara Satu launch, Dragon CRS-16 resupply launch to ISS, SpaceX
Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy & Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX
Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX
Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex, Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity
and Opportunity explore Mars, NH at Pluto, Kuiper Belt and more,” Kennedy Space
Center Quality Inn, Titusville, FL, evenings.
Photos for sale

Ken’s
upcoming talks:

Apr 3: “Exploring
Mars; The Search for Life & A Journey in 3-D.”  7 PM, Lawton C
Johnson
Middle School, Summit, NJ

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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