U.S. astronauts ready for capsule splashdown, the first in 45 years

  • U.S. astronauts ready for capsule splashdown, the first in 45 years

U.S. astronauts ready for capsule splashdown, the first in 45 years

Two Nasa astronauts are getting ready to make the first splashdown return in 45 years.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnkin and Doug Hurley are scheduled to return to Earth this weekend, splashing down off the coast of Florida.

Nasa said it will continue to monitor Hurricane Isaias as it edges close to south Florida over the weekend.

Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to be back inside Crew Dragon on Saturday, undocking from the space station at 4:34 p.m. California time for a roughly 19-hour journey back to Earth.

"We have confidence that the teams on the ground are, of course, watching that much more closely than we are, and we won't leave the space station without some good splashdown weather in front of us".

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. Assuming there are no glitches with the remainder of Hurley and Behnken's demonstration mission, dubbed Demo-2, the company will move ahead with Crew Dragon's first "operational mission". "From the get-go, we were expecting to be able to reuse this vehicle", Reed said.

Two SpaceX recovery ships, the Go Searcher and the Go Navigator, made up of spacecraft engineers, recovery experts and medical professionals, will be waiting to pull the capsule on board and help the astronauts get out as they begin readjusting to gravity. "NASA and SpaceX will make a decision on a primary splashdown target approximately 6 hours before undocking Saturday".

Given the track of the hurricane, a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at one of three approved sites off Florida's east coast is effectively ruled out, focusing landing plans on the Gulf - where four sites are available off Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Tampa.

"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", Behnken told reporters in a press call. "From my perspective, what we're really looking for in all of our missions is sustainability", he said.

"My son is six years old and I can tell from the videos that I get and from talking to him on the phone that he's changed a lot", said Behnken.

Like launch, the ride back will be essentially automated, with the crew and flight controllers intervening only if necessary. This will mark the first time that the Crew Dragon will bring passengers back to Earth.

Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to board the Dragon capsule Saturday and undock from the station with a planned splashdown on Sunday. Completion of the test flight will also be a big accomplishment for SpaceX and the entire commercial spaceflight industry.

Behnken said even before his launch, they had an inkling she would be assigned to a SpaceX flight.

"That innovation ultimately drove us to a point where we're now reusing these rockets reusing the capsules", Bridenstine said.

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

NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing for USA -based crew transport after the space shuttles retired in 2011.

Prior to Behnken and Hurley's launch May 30, NASA had been unable to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil since the agency's space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.