SpaceX/NASA Astronauts Returning to Earth
2 NASA Astronauts Fly Crew Dragon from ISS to Earth
|Source: SpaceX Crew Dragon|
History Being Made Again
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are making history once again. At this moment, they are flying SpaceX's Crew Dragon back to Earth, after spending two months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Crew Dragon undocked from the ISS Saturday at 4:35PT. NASA TV is broadcasting the return live.
The return to Earth has been smooth sailing thus far. Splashdown is set for Sunday 11:48 AM PT in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola, FL. The only variable is the weather with Hurricane Isaias menacing Florida. If the weather gets stormy, the astronauts have enough food on board to stay in orbit for several more days.
Harsh Conditions During Re-Entry
The re-entry process is dramatic. The spacecraft will be travelling at 17,500 mph as it approaches reentry and it will endure maximum temperatures of 3500 degrees F during re-entry. A SpaceX recovery vessel will meet Crew Dragon at splashdown.
Final Test for SpaceX
SpaceX, founded by its CEO Elon Musk, is the first private company to take NASA astronauts into space. If all goes well with the return flight and splashdown, SpaceX will be able to provide regular flights to the ISS starting later this year.