United States astronauts to return to Earth in rare splashdown on SpaceX capsule

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

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

The Soyuz 23 mission in October 1976 accidentally landed in Lake Tengiz in the middle of blizzard.

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

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have been aboard the space station since May 31, the day after SpaceX's historic launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the first manned launch from USA soil since the space shuttle program was retired in 2011. S. soil since NASA retired its space shuttles in 2011.

Crew members for that mission are to be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Yet, the mission has been dubbed Demo-2 because SpaceX had earlier carried out an uncrewed test flight, which had been dubbed Demo-1. "But the most important part is bringing us home".

Two U.S. astronauts are ready to make the first splashdown in 45 years.

"We have some of the best people in the business working on this for us and if the weather is not good, we won't try to leave tomorrow, we'll leave on a different day when it is", Hurley said.

The plan could be adjusted, before or after the docking, if the weather forecast changes. "I can breathe a sigh of relief but I can also tell you that I'm not going to celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely".

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"Crew Dragon will be travelling at orbital velocity prior to reentry, moving at approximately 17,500 miles per hour". As of Friday, the astronauts' departure was still expected to go on as scheduled, but a final decision on whether to proceed may not be made until late Saturday morning.

"She's super excited to be assigned to a SpaceX mission", says Behnken, who says the thing about his return to Earth that he's looking forward to the most is seeing his wife and son.

That is around the time the National Hurricane Center predicts Hurricane Isaias will arrive near the coast of central Florida and close to what could have been the primary splashdown site. The seven potential splashdown locations are off a mix of both eastern and western Florida coastal communities, namely Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville.

They will begin an engine burn to break out of orbit Sunday afternoon, with a splashdown near Florida planned for less than an hour later at 2:42 p.m.

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. There, the crew will emerge from the capsule and receive all necessary medical test and checkouts. A test flight of the Crew Dragon previous year successfully splashed down, so engineers know the system works.

Behnken has an extra reason to bring this Dragon back in good shape.

Reisman, a SpaceX consultant, used to work on the Crew Dragon, explained that when the passenger capsule will undock from the station and plunge into Earth, its heat shield will protect the astronauts from the intense heat that may reach up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

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