Written by Staff Writer
Air Force Lt. Col. Nicholas Patrick prepares to walk into Dragon’s Crew cabin. Credit: Courtesy NASA
The first passengers to travel on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon space capsule are about to dock with the International Space Station.
Forty-four U.S. military and government workers, along with NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Anne McClain, landed in Florida Tuesday around 1 p.m. ET, ending a 167-day mission aboard the ISS.
The crew’s May 2 blastoff marked the first time astronauts were able to move to Earth’s orbit after hauling cargo to the ISS.
SpaceX posted a video of one of the crew’s expressions shortly after landing, saying “Enroute home!”
They carried 1,312 pounds of food, clothing, supplies and equipment to the ISS as well as more than 4,400 pounds of science experiments.
Not only does Dragon have the ability to ferry humans, but SpaceX had previously tested its ability to recover and reuse other previously-launched missions, such as the Falcon 9 rocket used to send Dragon.
A dragon’s face-off
The Dragon crew will reunite with the SpaceX Dragon Crew capsule in Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. Credit: Ricardo Abreu/US Air Force via CNN
Dragon returns with 1,111 pounds of supplies to the ISS
SpaceX is the first company to successfully build and fly its own space craft capable of transporting both crew and cargo to the ISS.
It’s also the first company to show how such a craft can be reused.
SpaceX’s success came as NASA’s attempt to build a similarly crew-capable spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, continued to struggle.
SpaceX says the Crew Dragon spacecraft will eventually carry astronauts
In July, the Government Accountability Office ruled that NASA failed to follow its own guidelines for awarding SpaceX and Boeing contracts.
The GAO stated that it didn’t believe the agency did “full and open competition” for both contracts, in its letter to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.