Science

SpaceX capsule set to return 2 NASA astronauts from space station

SpaceX capsule set to return 2 NASA astronauts from space station”

This photo provided by NASA shows from left, astronauts Bob Behnken, Chris Cassidy and Doug Hurley during an interview on the International Space Station on Friday, July 31, 2020. Completion of the test flight will also be a big accomplishment for SpaceX and the entire commercial spaceflight industry. The seven potential splashdown locations are off a mix of both eastern and western Florida coastal communities, namely Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville.

Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are targeting 2:42 p.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 2, for the splashdown and conclusion of the Demo-2 test flight mission, which is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley says that he and his crewmate Robert Behnken are prepared for the possibility of seasickness.

A SpaceX recovery vessel will meet Crew Dragon (which the astronauts named Endeavour) to collect the spacecraft and parachutes from the water. "There's more chow and I know the space station program's got more work that we can do", said Behnken.

"We have some of the best people in the business working on this for us and if the weather is not good, we won't try to leave tomorrow, we'll leave on a different day when it is", Hurley said.

After the astronauts undock from the station, they can remain in the capsule for 24 to 48 hours before splashing down. After that is the splashdown: The capsule is expected to land in the ocean some 22 to 175 nautical miles off of Florida's coast.

About 40 workers from NASA and SpaceX will be stationed on each of two recovery ships to retrieve the astronauts from their capsules - one in the Gulf and one in the Atlantic Ocean.

Behnken completed four spacewalks while aboard the space station.

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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are making preparations for their historic return to Earth Sunday. "We could stay up here longer. We're going to do it from space and end up in the water", he added. "It will be the first time in this particular vehicle, if we do".

"There are bags, if you need them, and we'll have those handy".

"You have to remember this is a test flight", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said from Kennedy Space Centre.

But Boeing's program has floundered badly after a failed test run late previous year, which left SpaceX, a company founded only in 2002, as clear frontrunner. The launch marked the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011. This Crew-2 flight, due to launch no earlier than spring 2021, will reuse the Falcon 9 first stage from the Crew-1 mission, and the Dragon capsule is expected to splash down this weekend.

"We're really excited to see our families", Behnken said.

"And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her", he said. "And so that's the thing I'm most looking forward to, seeing my family, my wife and my son".

Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, have been astronauts since their selection in 2000.



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