SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts await "go" for weekend re-entry, splashdown

NASA Announces Members of SpaceX's Crew-2 Launch in 2021

However, NASA's webcast will be going live at 23:15 SAST today already, if you want to, share in Bob and Doug's journey home from the International Space Station (ISS).

Wrapping up a historic mission that marked the return of USA -launched manned space travel, two astronauts who flew to the International Space Station in a capsule built and launched by Hawthorne-based SpaceX are scheduled to begin their trip home Saturday.

With Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the first-ever astronauts to launch aboard a SpaceX rocket, set to return to Earth this weekend, its time for NASA and SpaceX to think ahead to the next Crew Dragon missions.

When Crew Dragon is far enough away from the ISS, the capsule will make an aggressive firing to get him on the path needed to fall close to Florida.

The landing target will be on the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida's Panama City, halfway between the cities of Tallahassee and Pensacola. Hurricane Isaias is forecast to approach the Florida coast this evening.

As per the schedule, the farewell ceremony at the ISS will take place at 6.10 am PT on August 1 and undocking coverage will commence at 2.15 pm PT. The vehicle will undergo temperatures of as much as 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,927 degrees Celsius) during re-entry, according to NASA.

During a news conference conducted in advance of undocking, Hurley said he had reviewed the Apollo record and acknowledged that splashdowns can be "pretty challenging from a physiological standpoint". Feeling sick "is the way it is with a water landing, " he added.

The capsule will splash down in the ocean and a recovery team on boats will scoop up the crew and capsule.

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SpaceX plans for the astronauts to exit the capsule within an hour after splashdown, at which point it will collect the capsule for re-use.

Behnken completed four spacewalks while aboard the space station. Behnken and Hurley also helped beef up the station's crew complement, which had been down to three before they arrived.

"And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her", he said. Tremor, a plush dinosaur that was used as a zero-G indicator for the Dragon's launch, will be coming back as well.

"With this test flight, NASA and the US aerospace industry are marking the first successful launch of a crew to the space station on a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft, and a safe return to Earth for that spacecraft and crew".

"The flag's all yours", Cassidy said as he handed the flag to Hurley.

It will be NASA's first ocean splashdown in 45 years and the first piloted re-entry of a Crew Dragon capsule. The flag has one more flight after this one: to the moon on NASA's Artemis program in the next few years.

"We don't control the weather, and we know we can stay up here longer - there's more chow, and I know the space station program has more work that we can do for the (principal investigators) and other folks who have sent science up to the space station", he said.

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