Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, standing in front of LC-39A and their Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center, launched to the ISS on May 30, 2020. With a hurricane headed towards Florida, however, it's unclear if the weather will cooperate with the plan.
That said, bobbing in the sea awaiting recovery while re-adjusting to gravity after an extended stay in weightlessness raises the prospect of post-splashdown nausea and seasickness.
This will be SpaceX's first splashdown with astronauts on board, ending a two-month test flight that began May 30 at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre the first launch of a crew from the USA in almost a decade.
Undocking from the International Space Station is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday.
Hurley said the emergency and other equipment has checked out well aboard Dragon, dubbed Endeavour.
Their departure leaves three on board, one American and two Russians.
After the astronauts undock from the station, they can remain in the capsule for 24 to 48 hours before splashing down. It will be another hour before the hatch is opened and the astronauts emerge. "We've got the the flight surgeons on board that will be able to help us as well".
Shortly after undocking, the Crew Dragon perform will perform several manoeuvres that will lower the capsule's orbit and get it closer to the splashdown zone. The seven potential splashdown locations are off a mix of both eastern and western Florida coastal communities, namely Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville.
Behnken has an extra reason to bring this Dragon back in good shape.
It will be NASA's first ocean splashdown in 45 years and the first piloted re-entry of a Crew Dragon capsule. The space agency and its global collaborators have officially selected the astronauts to fly on SpaceX's Crew-2 mission in the spring of 2021, as it had announced.
Behnken said even before his launch, they had an inkling she would be assigned to a SpaceX flight.
These have just been officially announced as NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
"And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her", he said.
NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley says that he and his crewmate Robert Behnken are prepared for the possibility of seasickness. SpaceX is already preparing to launch a second crew to the space station at the end of September.
NASA's commercial crew program manager, Steve Stich, said flight controllers will closely monitor the weather and, if necessary, keep the astronauts at the space station until conditions improve. For the commercial crew program, NASA set the high-level requirements but then left it up to SpaceX and Boeing to innovate.
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