Two NASA astronauts who took the first commercial trip to the orbit have successfully left the International Space Station and will be arriving home back on Earth very soon on SpaceX’s vehicle. Robert Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley have traveled to the space station in May on board the Crew Dragon capsule built by SpaceX, the private aerospace company built by Elon Musk.
The Crew Dragon already undocked from the International space station at 7:35 PM Eastern time on Saturday, with brief thruster firings pushing the spacecraft back. This marks the completion of the Demo-1 mission which is a part of the Human crew mission from NASA.
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
This photo of Hurricane Isaias was taken a few hours ago as it travels northwest between Cuba and the Bahamas. I hope the people in its path stay safe and I hope it doesn’t disrupt our return to Earth on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/nkyldd7NhF
— Col. Doug Hurley (@Astro_Doug) July 31, 2020
NASA Astronauts head towards splashdown today in SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2
NASA and SpaceX have seven splashdown sites in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, but the track of the storm ruled out the three in the Atlantic.
In a recent conference, Robert Behnken said that the ground teams are watching the weather conditions more closely than the astronauts themselves.
The two most important items coming home on Dragon Endeavour (besides @Astro_Doug & @AstroBehnken, of course)? The American flag that was delivered to @Space_Station on the final Space Shuttle mission in 2011 and Tremor, Jack and Theo’s 0-g indicating apatosaurus. 🇺🇸🦕 pic.twitter.com/9d7eEHzU0x
— Karen L. Nyberg (@AstroKarenN) August 1, 2020
At re-entry, the Crew Dragon traveled at about 17,500 miles per hour. Two small parachutes will deploy at an altitude of 18,000 feet when the spacecraft has already been slowed by Earth’s atmosphere to about 350 miles per hour. The four main parachutes deploy at an altitude of about 6,000 feet.
"This flag has spent some time up here, on the order of 9 years… I'm very proud to return this flag home and see what's next for it on its journey to the Moon." – @Astro_Doug with the U.S. flag that will return home with the #LaunchAmerica crew & fly on the 1st #Artemis mission pic.twitter.com/aHYoE82c1N
— NASA (@NASA) August 1, 2020
You can watch the live landing of Crew Dragon Demo-2 here now and see the entire event live online. The spacecraft will be landing in the Gulf of Mexico if the weather allows or else the landing will be in a different zone. The splashdown is scheduled for 2:48 pm EDT today as Astronauts wake up for their last lap to earth.
LIVE NOW: @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug are about to wake up for the last leg of their trip home, which will end with them splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48pm ET (6:48pm UTC). Watch: https://t.co/nsVyFC2dLE
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
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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.