SpaceX Crew Dragon’s Demo-2 mission has been fluid so far for NASA. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in late May and now they are back on Earth.
Crew dragon successfully dropped from the ISS at 4:35 PM PT Saturday. NASA broadcast the return process via live streaming on NASA TV.
Stormy weather at potential felling sites in the Gulf of Mexico could complicate the program. NASA and SpaceX are planning a landing off the coast of Pensacola, Florida on Sunday, continuing to monitor the impact of Hurricane Isaias.
NASA tweeted Saturday that Behnken and Hurley have several days of food on board in case they have to stay in orbit longer due to bad weather at the crash site.
Although the details of the times may change, NASA has set the following coverage program for the main stops on Sunday 2nd August:
- The crash in the Gulf of Mexico is scheduled for 11:48 PT.
- The post-splashdown press conference is set for 13:30. PT.
The return process is dramatic. “Crew Dragon will travel at orbital speed before returning, moving at around 17,500 miles per hour. The maximum temperature he will experience when returning is around 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit,” NASA said in a note on July 24.
A SpaceX recovery ship will meet Crew Dragon (which the astronauts called Endeavor) to collect the spacecraft and parachutes from the water. Endeavor will be hoisted onto the ship and Behnken and Hurley will be greeted by a medical team.
There is a lot to do on a safe and uneventful return for Crew Dragon. “This is SpaceX’s final test flight and is providing data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon’s spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in orbit, docking, sketching and recovery operations,” he said. NASA stated in a statement.
If Crew Dragon passes these final tests, then SpaceX will be able to deliver regularly,. And it would put an end to NASA’s dependence on Russian spacecraft for the first time since the shuttle era.