Astronauts face final leg of SpaceX test flight: coming home thumbnail

Astronauts face final leg of SpaceX test flight: coming home

A pair of NASA astronauts face the ideal and major fragment of their SpaceX test flight: returning to Earth with a rare splashdown

By

MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer

August 1, 2020, 3: 35 PM

3 min read

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —
A pair of NASA astronauts face the ideal and major fragment of their SpaceX test flight: returning to Earth with a rare splashdown.

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took fragment in a farewell ceremony Saturday on the Worldwide Home Location, a total lot of hours sooner than their planned departure on a SpaceX Dragon tablet.

Despite drawing plan Hurricane Isaias, NASA mentioned the climate looks favorable for a Sunday afternoon splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico plan Panama Metropolis, Florida. This could well perchance well perchance be the critical splashdown for astronauts in 45 years. The ideal time used to be following the joint U.S.-Soviet mission in 1975 in most cases known as Apollo-Soyuz.

The astronauts’ homecoming will cap a two-month mission that ended a prolonged open drought in the U.S., which has relied on Russian rockets to ferry astronauts to the get 22 situation region for the reason that dwell of the shuttle era.

In launching Hurley and Behnken from NASA’s Kennedy Home Heart on Might perchance well 30, SpaceX grew to become the critical non-public company to ship people into orbit. Now SpaceX is on the verge of becoming the critical company to raise people motivate from orbit.

“The hardest fragment used to be getting us launched, nonetheless the absolute best is bringing us dwelling,” Behnken mentioned.

A a success splashdown, Behnken mentioned, will raise U.S.-crew launching skill “full circle.”

Home region commander Chris Cassidy, who will remain on board with two Russians unless October, presented Hurley with the tiny U.S. flag left gradual by the outdated astronauts to open to the get 22 situation region from U.S. soil, in July 2011. Hurley used to be the pilot of that final shuttle mission.

The flag — which also flew on the critical shuttle flight in 1981 — grew to become a prize for the corporate that launched astronauts first.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX with out downside beat Boeing, which shouldn’t be any longer expected to open its first crew unless subsequent year and will land in the U.S. Southwest. The flag has one extra flight after this one: to the moon on NASA’s Artemis program in the subsequent few years.

“We’re barely unhappy to look them go,” Cassidy mentioned, “nonetheless very excited for what it skill to our world get 22 situation program so as to add this skill” of enterprise crew capsules. The following SpaceX crew flight is concentrated for the dwell of September.

Hurley and Behnken also are bringing motivate a shiny blue and purple dinosaur named Tremor. Their younger sons chose the toy to accompany their fathers on the historical mission.

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