SpaceX and NASA started the space journey of 2020 with the success of the “Launch America” event. The 2 US astronauts who reached the International Space Station (ISS) onboard the first crewed US spacecraft in nearly a decade will leave for Earth on August 1, 2020. US space agency administrator Jim Bridenstine says splashdown is targeted for August 2, however, the weather will drive the actual date.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley took off from Florida aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on May 30, becoming the first astronauts to hitch a ride to the ISS onboard a commercial spaceship, which is under contract with NASA. The Demo-2 mission launch was one of the most historic moments in recent space travel.
NEWS: We're targeting an Aug. 1 departure of @SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour spacecraft from the @Space_Station to bring @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug home after their historic #LaunchAmerica mission. Splashdown is targeted for Aug. 2. Weather will drive the actual date. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/VOCV51gzLi
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 17, 2020
SpaceX and NASA ready to bring back ISS Astronauts
This will be the first time the SpaceX capsule will make the journey to Earth with astronauts, having successfully completed an uncrewed test run last year.
Hello from @Space_Station, @RobRangers! Ms. Boyd’s class put this together. Pretty cool to have a whole kindergarten class up here with us! Looking forward to seeing you all back at Robinson Elementary when it’s safe and smart for school to get back in session. pic.twitter.com/T5yuRtdrUz
— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) July 17, 2020
It will splashdown in the Atlantic as the Apollo capsules did in the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, the Dragon will regularly bring four astronauts to the ISS at a time, from NASA and partner space agencies in Canada, Japan, Europe, and potentially Russia.
.@AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug worked last week to switch out furnaces in the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) aboard the @Space_Station. This facility supports studies in many areas of research, including the measurement of material properties and semiconductor crystal growth. pic.twitter.com/EapoIED9vh
— ISS Research (@ISS_Research) July 14, 2020
Since 2011, when the US space shuttle program ended, NASA astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Boeing Co, which is producing its own launch system in competition with SpaceX, is expected to fly its CST-100 Starliner vehicle with astronauts aboard for the first time next year.
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Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.