NASA plans early August return of Crew Dragon from space station

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 19, 2020

On May 30th, SpaceX successfully launched two U.S. astronauts for the first time. The astronaut return event will most likely be live streamed on NASA's and SpaceX's websites in usual mission-milestone fashion. Weather permitting, the Crew Dragon will undock from the orbital laboratory on August 1. NASA later confirmed officially that it's aiming for August 1 for the departure, and then August 2 for the splashdown.

Mr Bridenstine tweeted on Friday: "NEWS: We're targeting an August 1 departure of @SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour spacecraft from the @Space_Station to bring @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug home after their historic #LaunchAmerica mission". However, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that weather will be a major factor in the returning date.

United States astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will gear up for the final benchmark test of SpaceX's so-called Demo-2 mission: A coordinated splashdown somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean that will cap NASA's first crewed mission from U.S. soil in almost 10 years. Administrator Bridenstine has previously suggested the mission could be launched as early as August 30, 2020.

NASA has instead opted to pursue commercial partners SpaceX and Boeing to design, build and test a new generation of American spacecraft.

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is not yet complete and was hit with setbacks past year.

The joint SpaceX-NASA historic mission which brought human spaceflight back to USA soil after almost a decade is set to return from Earth orbit on August 1, 2020, per NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's announcement Friday afternoon. Though largely funded by taxpayers, SpaceX designed and owns its Crew Dragon capsules and the associated Falcon 9 rockets they fly aboard.

During this return leg of the trip, the Crew Dragon capsule will perform an automated undocking and return flight maneuver, with Behnken and Hurley aboard.

Behnken is gearing up for his final spacewalk on July 21 before prepping with Hurley to depart the space station, NASA said.

After two months aboard the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are returning home.

While SpaceX's first crewed mission has yet to come to full completion, plans are already in the works for a second manned launch. Controllers were powering on systems on the spacecraft weekly for health checks, while Behnken and Hurley, along with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, recently boarded the spacecraft to test how it accommodates four people.

Crew-1 will carry NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

"The rocket was shipped from the SpaceX facility in McGregor, Texas, and will now undergo prelaunch processing in the company's facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station".

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