NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley caught the attention of the world in May when they lifted off to the International Space Station inside SpaceX’s new passenger capsule named the Crew Dragon. This was the first time a privately made vehicle took people to space.
Now, Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to return this weekend to Earth.
This will be the first time the Crew Dragon will be carrying astronauts back to our planet. The two will be coming back as early as Sunday, provided the weather supports.
SpaceX has brought its capsule back to Earth from space earlier too, but that was during an uncrewed test flight last year in March.
Although the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission has had a smooth going as of now, the landing of the capsule will be a big test for the company as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The US space agency’s Crew Program is aimed at developing private spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from low Earth orbit.
The US space agency will be live streaming the astronauts’ return on NASA TV.
Owing to stormy weather conditions at the potential splashdown sites in the Atlantic, NASA is speculating that it (weather) complicates the schedule.
"Crew Dragon will be travelling 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.
As per the schedule, the farewell ceremony at the ISS will take place at 6.10 am PT on August 1 and undocking coverage will commence at 2.15 pm PT.
The departure on the same day has been scheduled for 4.34 pm PT.
The next day, on August 2, the splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean is slated for 11.42 am PT.
Then, finally, there will be a press conference at 2 pm PT, following the splashdown.