NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavor” spacecraft. Image credit: NASA TV
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 crew members, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, is slated to begin the trip back to Earth today at the conclusion of an end-to-end flight test to the International Space Station. NASA and SpaceX are targeting splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, at approximately 2:48 p.m. EDT. This is the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the International Space Station.
Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site.
Coming up, the Crew Dragon’s trunk will separate from the spacecraft, followed by the deorbit burn, which begins at 1:56 p.m. EDT. The “Go” for the deorbit burn was relayed to the crew at 12:58 p.m. EDT by SpaceX Crew Operations and Resources Engineer (CORE) Mike Heiman.
Here is a look at the upcoming milestones (all times Eastern):
1:51 p.m. – Crew Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Crew Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system ...