Mar 8, 2019

SpaceX completes milestone test mission of its Crew Dragon spacecraft

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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Boris Johnson admitted to hospital as coronavirus symptoms persist

Photo: Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests as a "precautionary step" as his coronavirus symptoms have continued to persist 10 days after testing positive, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: Johnson was the first major elected leader to test positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the nation, urging the British people to confront the pandemic with the same "self-discipline" and "resolve" that has defined the country in times of crisis.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,252,265 — Total deaths: 68,413 — Total recoveries: 258,495Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 325,185 — Total deaths: 9.267 — Total recoveries: 16,820Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Queen Elizabeth addresses U.K. amid coronavirus crisis: "We will meet again"

In a rare televised address on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II urged the United Kingdom to respond to the coronavirus pandemic with the "self-discipline" and "resolve" that have defined the British people in moments of crisis.

Why it matters: It's just the fifth time that the queen, who traditionally speaks to the nation once a year on Christmas Day, has addressed the British people in this way during her 68-year reign.

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