STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION
(Left to right) Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Soichi Noguchi, prior to disembarking the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience capsule after splashdown. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
Four astronauts strapped into their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, undocked from the International Space Station and plunged to a fiery pre-dawn splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, closing out the first operational flight of SpaceX’s futuristic touch-screen ferry ship.
Crew-1 commander Michael Hopkins, along with NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, disconnected from the space-facing port of the station’s forward Harmony module at 8:35 p.m. EDT Saturday.
That set up only the second piloted water landing for NASA’s post-shuttle commercial crew program and just the third night splashdown in space history — the first in nearly 45 years.
But the Crew Dragon executed a textbook return to Earth, dropping out of orbit, deploying four big parachutes and settling to a gentle splashdown south of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 a.m.
Crew Dragon Resilience descends in darkness under its four main parachutes to a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: NASA TV.
“Dragon, on behalf of NASA and ...