SpaceX's Astronaut Pod, Crew Dragon, Returns To Earth With A Big Splash

SpaceX's historic Demo-1 mission has come to a successful end. Earlier this morning, the company's new-generation astronaut-ferrying spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, returned to Earth after a glorious maiden voyage to the International Space Station (ISS).

According to NASA, the Crew Dragon capsule touched down at 8:45 a.m. EST, following a flawless re-entry and descent sequence through our planet's atmosphere.

The spacecraft departed the ISS in the early hours of the morning, undocking from the space station's Harmony module at 2:32 a.m. EST. After a six-hour trip through space, the Crew Dragon made it back to Earth and parachuted down to the planet's surface, making an impeccable ocean landing.

Footage released earlier today by the space agency showed the Crew Dragon spacecraft gracefully gliding through the air after the successful deployment of its drogue parachutes – small parachutes that deploy first in order to pull the larger parachutes from their pack – and its four main parachutes.

"We were all very excited to see re-entry, parachute and drogue deploy, main deploy, splashdown – everything happened just perfectly," Benji Reed, director of crew mission management at SpaceX, said in a statement.

"It was right on time, the way that we expected it to be. It was beautiful."

As The Inquisitr previously reported, the Crew Dragon has now become the first commercially built U.S. spacecraft designed for astronauts to launch from American soil on a mission to the space station. In addition, the spacecraft also boasts the title of first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the ISS after successfully latching onto the space station's Harmony module one day after its March 2 launch.

According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the success of Crew Dragon's first mission ushers in a "new era" of human space travel. The commercial spacecraft is designed to enable NASA astronauts to hitch a ride to the ISS without relying on the Russian Soyuz capsules — something which hasn't been achieved since 2011, when NASA retired its Space Shuttle Program.

"Today's successful re-entry and recovery of the Crew Dragon capsule after its first mission to the International Space Station marked another important milestone in the future of human spaceflight," Bridenstine said in an official statement published on the NASA website.

"I am proud of the great work that has been done to get us to this point," he added.