Two astronauts are preparing to return Earth aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship

Katie Ramirez
August 1, 2020

After a review of the latest forecast for the waters off the coast of Florida, and taking into account the seven possible splashdown locations, it has been made a decision to proceed with plans to bring astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley back to earth aboard the SpaceX Endeavor Crew Dragon this weekend, now targeting for the departure to occur at 7:34 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 1, with splashdown estimated at 2:42 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 2. Their undocking from the ISS is scheduled for approximately 7:34 pm (23:34 UTC) Saturday, and the splashdown at 2:42 pm (18:42 UTC) on Sunday.

During a press conference on Friday, Mr. Behnken said; "We won't leave the space station without some good landing opportunities in front of us, good splashdown weather".

The biggest question is if the weather will hold.

Right now, NASA is targeting a landing just off the coast of Panama City, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. "There's more chow, and I know the space station program's got more work that we can do for the folks that have sent science up here to the space station".

Two U.S. astronauts are ready to make the first splashdown in 45 years. Their flight is the first time American astronauts have flown from the USA since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011.

NASA will review the test mission before giving the go ahead for another astronaut launch from Florida later this year with three NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut. Hurley said that it would not be new to the crew if he and Benken fell ill while drifting in waves.

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The two astronauts that blasted off in the first private space vehicle to take people to the International Space Station are about to return to Earth - by splashing down in the waters around Florida. Hoping to galvanize a commercial space marketplace, NASA awarded almost $8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model that allows the space agency to buy astronaut seats from the two companies. "We could stay up here longer".

A SpaceX recovery ship staffed by engineers, medical personnel and fast-response support crews with jet skis and other gear will be stationed nearby to recover the capsule. Flight surgeons will be among the dozens of the recovery team members on site.

"This is SpaceX's final test flight in NASA's Commercial Crew Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, landing, and crew return operations", said NASA in the statement.

Dragon Endeavour has two sets of parachutes will that deploy once back inside Earth's atmosphere to slow the capsule before splashdown.

"And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her", he said.

The SpaceX mission is considered a demonstration flight - a final step before the capsule is fully certified for regular ferry service to the space station. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to return to Earth on August 2.

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