SpaceX celebrates Crew Dragon’s 1st launch anniversary with epic video
One year ago today, SpaceX took a giant leap forward for private spaceflight with the launch of its first Crew Dragon to the International Space Station and the company is celebrating that feat with an epic new video.
The new video, which SpaceX shared on YouTube and Twitter, shows the company’s first Crew Dragon spacecraft launched on the Demo-1 mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission, an uncrewed test flight, launched a spacesuit-clad dummy named Ripley and an adorable Celestial Buddy Earth plush toy to the station.
“On March 2, 2019, Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon on its first demonstration mission, and the next day it became the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station,” SpaceX said in a YouTube description. “After its stay at the space station, the spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its mission and demonstrating SpaceX’s capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.”
The new video lasts just 2 minutes and 20 seconds, but covers the full six-day test flight for Crew Dragon’s Demo-1 mission.
A Falcon 9 rocket launched the mission on March 2, with Crew Dragon arriving at the station a day later on March 3. On March 8, 2019, Crew Dragon returned to Earth with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, where it was plucked from the sea by SpaceX’s GO Searcher recovery ship.
SpaceX is one two companies tapped by NASA to fly astronauts to and from the space station as part of the multi-billion-dollar contracts under the agency’s Commercial Crew program. (The other company is Boeing and its Starliner spacecraft.)
While SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon capsule (the one that flew the Demo-1 mission) was destroyed in April 2019 during abort system ground tests, the company has since successfully launched a second Crew Dragon on an in-flight abort test that demonstrated the vehicle’s launch escape system in January of this year.
The company now aims to launch its first human crew, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, later this year, possibly in May.
SpaceX’s next launch will be the uncrewed Dragon CRS-20 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. That flight is scheduled to launch late Friday (March 6).