ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 1 (UPI)– 2 NASA astronauts prepare to fly SpaceX‘s groundbreaking Team Dragon pill from space Saturday to an at-sea landing the following day, with the target website off Pensacola in the Gulf of Mexico.
NASA has scheduled the spacecraft, called Endeavour by the astronauts aboard, to undock from the International Space Station at 7: 34 p.m. EDT Saturday and splash down at 2: 41 p.m. Sunday.
The original landing website was in the Atlantic Ocean near Kennedy Area Center, but splashdown would have happened around the time Cyclone Isaias was due to show up along main Florida’s east coast.
” We’re going to view the weather really thoroughly,” stated Steve Stich, manager of the agency’s Commercial Team Program, said Friday before the choice to land Sunday had been made.
” This is a test flight, and we’re going to take our time to come house. We have plenty of chances here in August, and we remain in no rush,” Stich stated.
The astronauts will travel for more than 19 hours in the capsule, but they could invest approximately 3 or 4 days above Earth if required, Stich stated.
For example, if the track of the cyclone moved all of a sudden and made it impossible to land, the astronauts might remain in orbit until the storm passed and seas calmed.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will return after 2 months in area. They made history when they flew the capsule to the spaceport station May 31– the first crewed launch from U.S. soil in 9 years.
The 2 said during a press conference from space Friday that they enjoyed their time on the spaceport station, specifically Behnken’s 4 spacewalks with fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy, who will stay there. Hurley assisted the spacewalkers from within.
The astronauts acknowledged weather is their primary concern about the return, however stated they weren’t going to stress over prospective hold-ups.
” We do not manage the weather, and we understand we can stay up here longer– there’s more chow and I understand the spaceport station programs have more work that we can do,” Behnken said.
Behnken stated he will have a few tips for his spouse, Meghan McArthur, who is scheduled to being in his seat on the Dragon during a flight to the International Spaceport station later this year, notably “where finest to load all your personal products so that you can get to them conveniently.”
He tweeted Saturday early morning, “All my bags are packed, I’m prepared to go.”
The SpaceX mission is considered a presentation flight– a final action prior to the pill is fully accredited for routine ferryboat service to the spaceport station.
The return to Earth would mark the first splashdown of a U.S. area capsule bring astronauts since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Task that was introduced from Kennedy Space Center in1975 It was the last flight of the Apollo spacecraft.
The astronauts expect they may become seasick and nauseated after they land in the water, most likely the Gulf of Mexico, Hurley stated.
” There are bags, if you require them, and we’ll have those handy. We’ll probably have some towels convenient. And, you know … it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that that’s happened in an area car, however it will be the first time in this specific automobile if we do,” Hurley stated.
2 SpaceX healing ships in the Gulf will head to the capsule once it lands. The very first vessel’s team will pull the capsule from the water and help the astronauts out, NASA said.
A second ship will recuperate 2 sets of parachutes that were to deploy and slow the pill’s descent once it re-entered the Earth’s environment.
If the astronauts experience an emergency situation, a helicopter aboard the very first ship can evacuate them to a healthcare facility.
Crew Dragon will travel about 17,500 mph as it re-enters the atmosphere. The re-entry will produce an interactions blackout, expected to last about six minutes.
Behnken finished four spacewalks while aboard the spaceport station. The mission had been planned to last just 5 days, but it was extended so Behnken might assist finish a years-long task to upgrade the power system.
No issues with the capsule have actually been reported– a scenario explained by a SpaceX analyst as “lovely boring for the astronauts, but that’s what we wanted.”
SpaceX protected a contract to supply ferryboat service to the spaceport station for a repaired expense in 2014, and established the rocket and capsule with NASA’s cooperation.
If the flight home succeeds, NASA plans to introduce another SpaceX pill to the spaceport station in September, officials stated.
Team members for that mission are to be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Company.
Over the previous years, NASA astronauts only utilized Russian Soyuz rockets and pills to reach the space station, at an expense of more than $70 million per seat.
Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, have actually been astronauts because their selection in2000 They worked carefully with SpaceX to develop the brand-new spacecraft systems.
Astronauts return to area from U.S. soil
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (L) and Bob Behnken, who flew the Team Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, quick mission controllers about their experience in the new vehicle on June 1. Image thanks to NASA