SpaceX pod with astronauts all set to return
HOUSTON (US) – The two NASA astronauts who went to the International Space Station onboard SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon are slated to return on Sunday after a four-month voyage. It is the first manned mission of NASA from the US in nine years.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who went to the space station in May, are expected to board Crew Dragon around 5:30 pm ET and land in one of the seven landing sites in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Oceans at about 2:48 pm ET on Sunday.
NASA and SpaceX are closely watching the trajectory of Hurricane Isaias, a category 1 cyclone approaching Florida’s east coast. It might force officials to postpone the homecoming to next week.
“We have plenty of opportunities here in August and we’re in no hurry to come home,” NASA’s commercial crew manager Steve Stich said.
The acorn-shaped pod can accommodate up to seven astronauts.
When it lands successfully, the spacecraft would have completed its final task to prove it can ferry astronauts.
“The water landing portion of it is pretty challenging from a physiological standpoint, just after coming back from being in microgravity,” said two shuttle mission veteran Hurley.
Billionaire and Tesla owner Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the first private firm to send humans to space with the launch of Behnken and Hurley. They have spent more than two months on the space station.
Ever since NASA stopped its shuttle programme in 2011, this is the first time it is launching humans from the US. Since then, it has been depending on Russia to launch astronauts into space.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field