NASA astronauts get ready for a rare splashdown

01 Août, 2020, 16:10 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Believed to be capsule C207 the Crew Dragon spacecraft

And it's SpaceX's first test flight to the station with astronauts on board. At least one other of the seven total landing sites must be clear for Crew Dragon's splash down too, though. The current preferred splashdown zone is just south of Panama City.

Earlier on May 30, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon's second demonstration (Demo-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX and NASA plan to land an astronaut directly into the sea for the first time in 45 years, and two U.S. astronauts preparing for a similar return said on Friday that they had prepared "seasick bags".

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on May 30 amid a blaze of publicity. "And we'll have those handy", Hurley said in a press conference held on Friday, while on board the station.

NASA plans for the spacecraft, named Endeavour by the astronauts aboard, to undock from the International Space Station at 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday and splash down at 2:42 p.m. Sunday.

After splashdown, it will take an hour or so before the capsule is hauled by crane onto a SpaceX recovery ship, where the hatch will be opened and the astronauts will get out.

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

The splashdown return will be the first one for USA astronauts in 45 years. 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.

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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are making preparations for their historic return to Earth Sunday.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon became the first crewed, commercially developed spaceship to dock at the International Space Station in May. "We could stay up here longer". "We're going to watch the weather very carefully. It will be the first time in this particular vehicle, if we do".

Just in case, Hurley said Friday, "there are bags if (we) need them and we'll have those handy, we'll probably have some towels handy as well".

"We have confidence that the teams on the ground are, of course, watching that much more closely than we are", said Behnken. NASA has about a half dozen splashdown sites along the Florida coast - each with certain weather criteria.

The Demo-2 mission is the final major milestone for SpaceX's human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the space station.

But Boeing's program has floundered badly after a failed test run late past year, which left SpaceX, a company founded only in 2002, as clear frontrunner. Their flight is the first time American astronauts have flown from the USA since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011.

"We're really excited to see our families", Behnken said. "And so that's the thing I'm most looking forward to, seeing my family, my wife and my son". Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to return to Earth on August 2.

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