Monday, 03 August, 2020

NASA astronauts begin their journey home in SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft tonight

NASA Announces Members of SpaceX's Crew-2 Launch in 2021 NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken prepare for historic return to Earth in SpaceX capsule
Sandy Nunez | 01 August, 2020, 16:12

Behnken said he will have a few tips for his wife, Meghan McArthur, who is scheduled to sit in his seat on the Dragon during a flight to the International Space Station later this year, notably "where best to pack all your personal items so that you can get to them conveniently".

The rocket from Elon Musk's company SpaceX launched Veteran Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the ISS. 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. The capsule has been docked at the space station since May 31, allowing Hurley and Behnken to chip in with spacewalks and experiments.

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 chose 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. Undocking remains scheduled for approximately 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday and splashdown at 2:42 p.m. EDT on Sunday. NASA astronaut Hurley said if he and Behnken feel sick while bobbing in the waves awaiting recovery, it won't be the first time for a crew.

"One effect of (a long-duration stay in) you're very conditioned to microgravity, and you're not so conditioned to gravity", Hurley told James Corden, host of the CBS Late Late Show, in an earlier interview.

If Crew Dragon passes these final tests, then SpaceX will be able to provide regular, operational flights to the ISS starting later this year. "We're going to do it from space and end up in the water", he added.

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". "So there's a pretty good likelihood that we may see breakfast twice on that particular day". "But we have confidence that the teams on the ground are of course watching that much more closely than we are". NASA has about a half dozen splashdown sites along the Florida coast - each with certain weather criteria.

Pakistan artillery kills 15 civilians in Afghanistan after clashes at closed border
An official of the Chaman administration, Zakaullah Durrani, told Reuters that the situation on the border remained tense. Despite conciliatory signals from Pakistan, the Afghan side appeared aggressive, at least in its post-clash tone.

The mission marked the first time NASA launched humans from US soil since its shuttle program retired in 2011.

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.

Dragon Endeavour has two sets of parachutes will that deploy once back inside Earth's atmosphere to slow the capsule before splashdown. "From my perspective, what we're really looking for in all of our missions is sustainability", he said.

The astronauts will come home in the same SpaceX Dragon capsule that took them up on May 30.

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