Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

After a nearly week-long mission, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule returned to Earth Thursday morning, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Florida.

The big picture: This "Demo-1 mission" for SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule marked the first time that a commercially built and operated spacecraft designed to carry a human crew has docked at the International Space Station from U.S. soil. The test mission completed numerous milestones, each of which NASA and SpaceX will be reviewing before going forward with a crewed test flight this spring.

  • All parachute deployments for the Crew Dragon's atmosphere re-entry went according to plan.
  • The spacecraft successfully docked and then undocked automatically with the ISS, the first time a cargo capsule has done this without a human pilot at the helm.
  • This mission marked the first use of new adapters to connect the Crew Dragon with the space station. These adapters will be used with the Orion spacecraft for NASA’s future mission to the moon, per a NASA press release following the Dragon's re-entry on Friday.

What's next: An in-flight, uncrewed abort test will take place after the Demo-1 mission. Assuming all goes smoothly and the company meets certification requirements, then the first crewed SpaceX test flight to the ISS, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board, could blast off as early as July.

Boeing, which also is developing a new spacecraft to launch astronauts to the ISS, has a timeline that is proceeding at roughly the same pace.

Go deeper: SpaceX launch brings the U.S. closer to restoring passenger flights

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New Jersey governor allows schools to reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 20,412,501 — Total deaths: 744,649— Total recoveries: 12,629,465Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 5,163,509 — Total deaths: 164,994 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.