The first astronauts to fly into space aboard SpaceX ‘s Crew Dragon have just begun their journey back to Earth.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley spent two months on board the International Space Station (ISS). Their Demo-2 mission began on May 30 with the launch of the Crew Dragon on top of the Falcon 9 rocket, ending with mooring to the space station several hours later. Yesterday in the evening (Polish time), the astronauts boarded the Dragon’s Crew again and at 1:35 Polish time unmoored from the space station, starting their 19-hour journey to Earth. At the time of unberthing, the station and the ship were 430 km above Johannesburg.
Crew Dragon returns to Earth
Endeavor should land off the coast of Florida today at 20:41 CET. Nevertheless, the landing site is not yet a foregone conclusion. NASA and SpaceX selected seven possible landing sites for the ship, four in the Gulf of Mexico and three on the east coast of Florida.
The ground teams will select the final landing site based on the current weather conditions at the landing site. According to NASA, when making decisions, engineers will prefer places that require the shortest flight from the moment of unberthing the ship and places where it will be daylight when landing.
About six hours before launching (five hours before launching the deorbitation maneuver), NASA and SpaceX will decide whether the weather conditions allow a safe landing on the water.
From the moment of unberthing, NASA broadcasts all the action and you can watch it in the window below. Before 3 p.m. Polish time, it will be known where and at what time we will be able to see the launch. Either way, please come back to this article after 8 p.m. to watch the first Crew Dragon landing with the crew with us.
If everything goes as planned, the long process of certifying the vessel for manned flights will be completed with the launch.
Crew Dragon has unmoored from the space station and is headed for Earth. Landing today