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SpaceX return: Astronauts head for splashdown, despite tropical storm

The spacecraft is expected to touch down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday at 2:48 pm ET. Behnken and Hurley’s safe homecoming will mark the stop to an historic two-month mission and pave the way for the US to after all over again grow to be a environment chief in human spaceflight.

The astronauts have been aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Dragon Endeavour, since Saturday evening when it undocked from the Worldwide Area Station.

Behnken and Hurley started their historic two-thirty day period journey to the ISS in May well, when the astronauts released inside of their Crew Dragon spacecraft from a ground pad in Florida. It was the to start with NASA astronaut launch from US soil because 2011 and the first time in historical past that a commercially made spacecraft carried human beings into orbit.

Overnight, the car or truck done a series of motor burns to reduce the vehicle’s altitude, preparing to take a dramatic plunge back again into the Earth’s thick atmosphere later on these days.

Introducing to the drama is Tropical Storm Isaias, which is barreling towards Florida’s east coast and threatening violent winds capable of harmful roofs and buildings.

NASA and SpaceX predetermined 7 probable splashdown sites for this mission, 4 of which are to the west of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico: Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee and Panama City. And in that area, the wind and wave heights surface quiet enough for the Crew Dragon to land securely.

Nonetheless, weather officers are retaining a shut eye on the forecast, and they could simply call off the splashdown all the way up till the spacecraft commences reentering the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Behnken and Hurley — both married to fellow NASA astronauts —have young people ready at property for them. Their sons dispatched a wake-up information for the astronauts this early morning.

“Rise and glow daddy, we appreciate you! We cannot wait to see you — wake up, wake up! …Don’t be concerned, you can sleep in tomorrow. Hurry dwelling so we can go get my pet,” one of the kids explained.

The astronauts responded to mission handle: “Ideally the pressure’s all on whoever is making the temperature contact, simply because those boys appear to be energized to deliver us property.

A harmless homecoming is vital. Although SpaceX earlier launched a Crew Dragon on an uncrewed demonstration mission, Hurley and Behnken’s mission is even now viewed as a take a look at. The two men are veteran NASA astronauts and exam pilots precisely educated to respond to any complex issues that could arise on the new car or truck, and NASA will not likely formally certify Crew Dragon as a human-rated spacecraft until it makes a safe return.

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