Nasa astronauts Bob behnken and Doug Hurley safely returned to earth inside SpaceX’s crew Dragon capsule. The spacecraft carrying the two astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:48pm et. Recovery boats were waiting nearby to receive the crew.
The mission began on May 30th, when behnken and Hurley both launched inside the capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida and then docked with the space station a day later. The mission was meant to prove out all of the crew dragon’s biggest capabilities – by safely transporting people to space and getting them to the ISS.
behnken and Hurley’s flight was the final test for the capsule as part of NASA’s commercial crew program. Now, SpaceX is already preparing to fly the crew dragon again with people – once in September and again in spring of 2021.
Welcome back to earth, @ astrobehnken and @ astro_doug!. Good splashdown of dragon confirmed!.
Nasa is now entering a new era of human spaceflight. Private companies are the first to fly people to orbit on a privately developed spacecraft.
Nasa has had to rely on Russia’s Soyuz rocket. Each seat on the Soyuz ran NASA roughly $ 80 million. Now, NASA can launch its astronauts on the crew dragon.
A small American flag has been on the space station for the last nine years. The flag has traveled more than 27 million miles during its time in orbit.
The two spent 18 hours in orbit inside the crew Dragon, slowly distancing from the space station. Just before 2pm ET, the capsule’s thrusters ignited, taking the capsule out of orbit and setting it on course for earth. The capsule plunged through earth’s atmosphere, experiencing intense heating that reached up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nasa and SpaceX would have preferred for the astronauts to touch down on the East side of Florida near Cape Canaveral. Tropical Storm isaias forced the crew dragon to land near Pensacola – one of seven potential landing sites for the capsule around Florida.
Landing in water is not necessarily the nicest experience, as the motion of the waves can be a little nauseating. Most astronauts have to adjust to earth’s gravity after being in space for a long period of time, where their bodily fluids have shifted around and their sense of balance has been thrown out of whack.
Nasa expects it to take an hour after splashdown for behnken and Hurley to be on the deck of SpaceX’s main recovery vessel. They’ll be greeted by NASA personnel, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, who will assess the crew and make sure they’re okay. They will then board a Gulfstream jet that will take them back to Houston, where their families will be waiting for them.
I can tell from the videos that I get and talking to him on the phone that he’s changed a lot even in the just couple months that we’ve been up here’.
The capsule will be checked out on the boat and then returned to one of SpaceX’s facilities in Florida. That flight will carry a crew of four astronauts to the space station, including behnken’s wife, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. Mcarthur flew to space once before on the space shuttle to help repair the Hubble Space Telescope.