Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM – 10 March
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
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.
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 Atlantic 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
Enjoy our expanding gallery of Space UpClose imagery.
under the pitch black of night conditions, but luckily for us the Crew Dragon spacecraft
itself was illuminated by flood lights on deck.
– 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.
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.
limits submarine base it was no longer visible to us behind military structures
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
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
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
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.
onboard Go Searcher – unless there is a medial need to evacuate earlier.
The Crew Dragon Demo-1 test flight served as
a shakedown cruise for the next flight with a crew of two NASA astronauts aboard.
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.
Crew Dragon is the first commercially built
American spacecraft designed to carry humans to the orbiting laboratory that
has actually docked.
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
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
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
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