USA astronauts to return to Earth in rare splashdown on SpaceX capsule

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 1, 2020

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX teams are all set to bring NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) on August 2.

SpaceX and NASA plan to land an astronaut directly into the sea for the first time in 45 years, and two United States astronauts preparing for a similar return said on Friday that they had prepared "seasick bags".

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule. Hurley said that it would not be new to the crew if he and Benken fell ill while drifting in waves.

Two months later, the Demo-2 mission's astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, are about to come home in the same spaceship, which they have named Endeavour.

Feeling sick "is the way it is with a water landing, " he added. It was the first flight of a crew from the U.S. after almost a decade. Hoping to galvanize a commercial space marketplace, NASA awarded almost $8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model that allows the space agency to buy astronaut seats from the two companies.

The dragon capsule will remain in the water for about an hour and will then be ejected via a crane and placed on a SpaceX recovery ship. Flight surgeons will be among the dozens of the recovery team members.

The SpaceX mission is considered a demonstration flight - a final step before the capsule is fully certified for regular ferry service to the space station.

The seven potential Florida splashdown sites for Crew Dragon are off the coasts of Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville.

"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.

Just like the launch, the spaceship's ride back will be wholly automated, with the crew and flight controllers intervening only if necessary.

These have just been officially announced as NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

If Crew Dragon passes these final tests, then SpaceX will be able to provide regular, operational flights to the ISS starting later this year.

Behnken said even before his launch, they had an inkling she would be assigned to a SpaceX flight. This has become all the more important after a recent announcement that NASA will allow SpaceX to begin reusing its Crew Dragon spacecraft early next year.

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.

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

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