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SpaceX ship rescues boater while practicing for historic NASA mission

The recovery vessel GoSearcher became a good Samaritan for a day.

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GoSearcher, the recovery ship SpaceX uses for Crew Dragon.

NASA

A SpaceX ship, designed to recover the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft and astronauts returning from orbit, last week performed a rescue operation off the coast of Florida.

The US Coast Guard reported that the SpaceX vessel Go Searcher responded to an emergency call while practicing for the company's historic first launch of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The mission is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral on May 27. 

GoSearcher arrived on the scene as a good Samaritan and rescued a 54-year-old man who had been pulled away from his boat by currents while attempting to work on its propellers. The Coast Guard reported that the man was wearing a life jacket and in good condition.

"Glad we could help," CEO Elon Musk tweeted in response to the news.

GoSearcher is equipped with a helicopter landing pad and a special lift that's designed to pull the Crew Dragon capsule from the water after it splashes down in the ocean upon reentry. From there the astronauts can be checked out and transported back to land. 

While the Crew Dragon launch is set for later this month, the exact date when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will return to Earth -- and to GoSearcher -- is not yet determined.

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Watch this: SpaceX set to to take its first astronauts into space