The SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission has been smooth sailing so far for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley launched to the International Space Station in late May and are now headed back to Earth.
Crew Dragon successfully undocked from the ISS at 4:35 p.m. PT on Saturday. NASA has been broadcasting the return process through a livestream on NASA TV.
Stormy weather at the potential splashdown sites in the Gulf of Mexico could complicate the schedule. NASA and SpaceX are planning on water landing off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on Sunday while continuing to monitor any impact from Hurricane Isaias.
Aboard the @SpaceX Dragon Endeavour, @AstroBehnken & @Astro_Doug have 3 days of food and snacks. Splashdown is planned for tomorrow afternoon, but they can remain on-orbit longer in case of unexpected weather. pic.twitter.com/FewUeaymjH
NASA tweeted on Saturday that Behnken and Hurley have several days of food on board in case they need to stay in orbit longer because of bad weather at the splashdown site.
Though the timing details could change, NASA has set the following coverage schedule for the major milestones on Sunday, Aug. 2:
The reentry process is dramatic. “Crew Dragon will be traveling at orbital velocity prior to reentry, moving at approximately 17,500 miles per hour. The maximum temperature it will experience on reentry is approximately 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit,” said NASA in a statement on July 24.
A SpaceX recovery vessel will meet Crew Dragon (which the astronauts named Endeavour) to collect the spacecraft and parachutes from the water. Endeavour will be hoisted onto the ship and Behnken and Hurley will be greeted by a medical team. Source: cnet.com