With a splash, the (SpaceX) Dragon has landed

The first picture of the Dragon spacecraft as it floats in the ocean awaiting recovery ships. (SpaceX)

At 8:42AM Pacific/11:42 AM Eastern this morning, SpaceX completed an historic mission as the business end of the Dragon capsule splashed down safely in the Pacific ocean, to be recovered by boats and head for land. From the SpaceX announcement:

Last week, SpaceX made history when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments – the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency – had achieved this challenging technical feat. Dragon departed the space station this morning. This is SpaceX's second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station.

More analysis in this previous BB post from this morning's event.


  1. Ride the dragon toward the crimson eye

    Flap the wings under Mars red sky

    The reptile pushes itself out into space

    Leaving behind, the human race

    I would love to be a DRAGONAUT!

  2. The Dragon capsule in the water could easily be mistaken for a rather drab buoy.

    Hey, was it damaged? What’s that irregular-edged trench going from bottom center to top left?

    1. That diagonal trench is where one of the parachute shroud lines was (a vertical one is to the left). The parachutes were attached to the top, but stored at the bottom of the capsule.

      1. Yes, it seems like a crude solution, but you can see this “trench” is covered and appears like a bulge in the preflight images of the capsule. It seems that the lines connecting the chutes to the top of the capsule “tear out” of this cover when they deploy. 

        Its a classic design problem with the capsule/splash down model. I believe the Apollo capsule stored the chutes around the nose, but had a longer tunnel from the cabin to the docking hatch. Compromises. . .  If you look at a recovery photo of an Apollo capsule you’ll see the top section of the cone shaped shell is gone, leaving the tunnel exposed. The chutes were packed around the tunnel, and that top of the capsule cone is jettisoned when the chutes delploy. 



        1.  Ah, I got it. A line tearing through a cover would leave a slightly jaggy edge.

          That said, it DOES look like the capsule was sliced with a laser cannon.

  3. So does this capsule go to the Air and Space museum, or does it get refurbished and fly again ( this would be much cooler )?

  4. My favorite thing about this whole story is still that whenever I hear reporters talking about the company it sounds like they are saying “Space Sex” …

    For some reason that just makes me feel happy…

  5. I’ve an hypothesis that nursing an hatred of bad grammar will make me sound like an Hitler right now.  

  6. Dragon. I just can’t get inspired by that name. Where’s Ken Segall?

    Meanwhile in the U.S. a bunch of oil/gas lobbyists are running these “energytomorrow.org” TV spots, where some pant-suited lady  tries to convince us that digging holes in the ground for natural resources is “new”.

Comments are closed.