SpaceX’s new crew capsule has returned to Earth, ending its first test flight with an old-fashioned splashdown.
The Dragon undocked from the International Space Station early Friday. Six hours later, the capsule carrying a test dummy plopped into the Atlantic off the Florida coast.
It marks the first time in 50 years that a capsule designed for astronauts returned from space by plopping into the Atlantic. Apollo 9 splashed down near the Bahamas on March 13, 1969.
NASA astronauts have been stuck riding Russian rockets since space shuttles retired eight years ago. NASA is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts this year.
Friday morning’s splashdown was the final hurdle of SpaceX’s six-day test flight.