NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are preparing for their historic return to Earth on Sunday.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, named “Endeavor” by astronauts, is scheduled to be captured by the International Space Station on Saturday and make its splashdown off the Florida coast the next day.
The astronauts spent two months on laboratory space in orbit.
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“Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are aiming for the 2:42 pm EDT on Sunday, August 2, for the dissemination and conclusion of the Demo-2 test flight mission,”; said NASA, in a statement. “With this test flight, NASA and the U.S. aerospace industry are marking the first successful launch of a crew to the space station on a rocket and a commercially built and commercially operated American spacecraft. , and a safe return to Earth for that spacecraft and crew. “
Heat from the International Space Station is scheduled for Saturday EDT at 7.34 pm.
“Teams will continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Isaias and assess weather impacts across the Florida peninsula, including potential spread sites in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast. of the state’s Atlantic, ”NASA said in a statement. “NASA and SpaceX will make a decision on a primary deployment target about 6 hours before landing on Saturday.”
Hurley and Behnken, both veterans of the Space Shuttle missions, boarded the orbiting space lab on May 31 after the eager launch of the Demo-2 mission by the Kennedy Space Center on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch marked the first time astronauts launched from American soil since the final flight of the Space Shuttle in 2011.
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The mission is also the first time a private company, rather than a national government, has sent astronauts into orbit.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft was unveiled on May 30 amid a publicity sheet. Formerly known as capsule 206, the spacecraft has been renamed Endeavor, continuing the tradition of astronauts naming their capsules.
“Today was just an amazing day,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said shortly after the launch. “I can breathe a sigh of relief but I can also tell you that I won’t celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely.”
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The mission is an important point in the Commercial program of the Space Agency.
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“This is SpaceX’s latest test flight in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide performance data on the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems. , as well as in orbit, dock, landing, and crew return operations, “NASA said in the statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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