About five hours later, after a 15-minute de-orbit burn, the Crew Dragon capsule floated down into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at 8:45 a.m. EST, buoyed first by two drogue parachutes and then by four main parachutes.
To say that the Crew Dragon did well would be a huge understatement.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard takes off, on March 2. "We're not quite ready to put humans on either vehicle yet".
The Crew Dragon capsule is heading back to Earth after spending a week docked at the ISS. SpaceX engineers dubbed the dummy Ripley, a nod to a character in the 1979 film Alien. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also included a small "zero gravity sensor" in the shape of an Earth-shaped plush toy.
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But like the launch, the docking went off without a hitch, and soon the three astronauts on board the station - NASA's Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko of Russian Federation, and Canada's David Saint-Jacques - were able to check out the first commercial space vehicle designed for human space flight ever to dock with the station.
But the capsule was also responsible for delivering supplies to the International Space Station.
Splashdown is expected at about 1345 GMT (0845 EST) on Friday, and a vessel, the GO Searcher, will be waiting to recover the capsule. NASA explained in a blog post on March 2 that the system is recording "everything an astronaut would experience throughout the mission, such as the forces, acceleration, the protection offered by Crew Dragon's seats, and overall environment". If deemed a complete success, the mission would give NASA increased confidence in one of its prime contractors and propel the space agency a step closer to restoring human spaceflight from US soil. Both SpaceX and Boeing have been working hard to meet that demand, and previous year it seemed like Boeing's Starliner would beat the Crew Dragon to its delivery date. And the first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, is slated for July, according to NASA's most recent schedule.
A final key test on Crew Dragon's emergency abort system is scheduled for June. The astronauts have been showing the Earth buddy around the space station.
The timeline for Boeing's Starliner is not as clear.