SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has proved itself in space — now it has to get back to Earth in one piece

<em>A SpaceX Crew Dragon parachute test in 2016</em>” src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/UeV14d2ou3sunTCSIvecEWGSSVk=/0x0:3000×2000/1310×873/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63199386/ksc_20160813_ph_spx01_0002.0.jpg”></p><p>The first ever test flight of SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon capsule will come to an end tomorrow, when the spacecraft detaches from the International Space Station and attempts to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean using a suite of parachutes. This is the last major milestone of the capsule’s mission — and perhaps the biggest challenge the Crew Dragon faces yet.</p><p>The vehicle needs to prove its novel shape and parachute system can survive the plunge through Earth’s atmosphere in one piece, while keeping its inner cargo safe. There won’t be any living passengers inside Crew Dragon when it makes its descent tomorrow. But as <a href=a vital part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX’s vehicle will be tasked with transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS…

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Author: Loren Grush