SpaceX crew capsule departs station for Atlantic splashdown

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In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station’s Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019. SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. (NASA via AP)
In this photo provided by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the International Space Station’s Harmony module, Sunday, March 3, 2019. SpaceX’s new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. (NASA via AP)

SpaceX’s swanky new crew capsule has undocked from the International Space Station and is headed toward an old-fashioned splashdown.

The Dragon capsule pulled away from the orbiting lab early Friday, a test dummy named Ripley its lone occupant. It’s aiming for a morning splashdown in the Atlantic off Florida’s coast, the final hurdle of the six-day test flight. Saturday’s launch and Sunday’s docking were spot on.

Canadian station astronaut David Saint-Jacques was the first to enter the Dragon when it arrived and the last to leave. He found the capsule “very slick” and called it business class.

NASA astronauts have been stuck riding Russian rockets since space shuttles retired eight years ago. NASA is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start launching astronauts this year. SpaceX is shooting for summer.

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