The first mission to send NASA astronauts into orbit on a commercially owned spaceship came back down to Earth today with the splashdown of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in the Gulf of Mexico.
“On behalf of the SpaceX and NASA teams, welcome back to planet Earth, and thanks for flying SpaceX,” Mike Heiman, a lead member of SpaceX’s operations team, told astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
The splashdown closed out a 64-day mission to the International Space Station, aimed at testing the first SpaceX Dragon to carry crew. The reusable spacecraft was dubbed Endeavour as a tribute to earlier spaceships.
In May, Endeavour’s launch atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket made history, and today’s return to Earth did as well: It was the first time since 1975 that a crewed NASA spacecraft returned to Earth at sea, and the first space landing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jesuit high school, an all-boys Catholic school in New Orleans, is proud of its alumni. In 1978, its website records, student debaters Moises Arriaga and Brett Giroir “had a legendary season, winning the City Championship, District Championship, State Championship and the NFL National Championship”.
Forty-two years later, Giroir’s debating skills are facing their ultimate test. As Donald Trump’s coronavirus testing tsar, he is repeatedly grilled by America’s top political news hosts about what is seen as an epic disaster. And despite his gilded career at school, Giroir’s qualifications and track record have come under increasing scrutiny as the US pandemic death toll tops 150,000.
“What he does over and over again in his public statements is always put the most positive spin he can on what is clearly just an abysmal failure in terms of the US testing strategy,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the government response