- SpaceX’s Crew Dragon became the crew’s first spacecraft, commercially developed to dock at the May International Space Station.
- This weekend, the ship and its astronauts will be returned to Earth. Their flight includes seasoning and a rapid drop in our atmosphere.
- Watch the trip live on NASA TV below.
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SpaceX made history in May when it became the first company to launch a manned spacecraft to the International Space Station. In doing so, rocket company Elon Musk has revived the U.S. ability to launch its own astronauts into space, which has not been possible since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Two months later, mission astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were about to enter the house in the same space shuttle, which they named Endeavor. Their journey includes a fierce return to Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA will go through that flight, as well as the process in which the spacecraft is captured from the space station, live this weekend – you can watch it below via NASA TV. Here is the schedule:
On Saturday, August 1, astronauts will participate in an ISS greeting ceremony around 9.10 am ET. Then NASA’s non-stop coverage begins at 5.15 pm ET, ahead of the astronauts ’scheduled departure at 7.34 pm.
Then on Sunday, August 2, assuming all goes well, the Crew Dragon will land in the Atlantic Ocean by the crash of 2:42 pm ET. A news conference later in the day begins at 5 pm ET.
It is possible, however, that Tropical Storm Isaias could get in the way, forcing SpaceX and NASA to change the schedule. Storm wind and rain are expected to hit Florida on Saturday.
What to expect during the return of the Dragon Crew
The first phase of the astronauts ’return journey, relentlessly, asks them to join the Dragon Crew, after which space must withdraw the hooks that connect it to the ISS. Assuming everything goes according to plan, his engines will then slowly move the ship away from the station. Once flying free of charge, the ship is programmed to start its engines more aggressively to put it on the road to its spillway off the Florida coast.
Then after going on the road, the ship is expected to cast its log, which should be burned into the atmosphere. After the separation is complete, the Crew Dragon will hurt to Earth up to 17,500 miles per hour, or almost 23 times the speed of sound.
During this fall, the space shuttle will have to protect the hardware and crew from temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Musk called this part of the trip “his biggest concern.”
After the Dragon Crew reintroduces the thicker parts of the Earth’s atmosphere, it is planned to send two sets of parachutes. First it opens at 18,000 feet, then another set enters at 6,000 feet. Following is the spill: The capsule is expected to sink into the ocean about 22 to 175 nautical miles off the coast of Florida.