SpaceX reports that its Dragon spacecraft has successfully splashed down in the Pacific, marking the end of what appears to be a virtually flawless COTS 1 demonstration mission. The spacecraft’s three main parachutes were seen deployed just before 2.00 pm Eastern, some three minutes after the drogues were reported as having deployed. These dual drogue parachutes deploy at 45,000 feet to stabilize and slow the spacecraft. The drogues are designed to trigger the release of the main 116 ft diameter parachutes at about 10,000 feet, with the drogues detaching from the spacecraft. Main parachutes further slow the spacecraft’s decent to approximately 16-18 ft/sec. SpaceX says even if Dragon were to lose one of its main parachutes, the two remaining chutes would still ensure a safe landing.

Recovery crews will re-enact the drill tested during the earlier Dragon drop test off the California coast. (SpaceX)

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