Tropical storm may delay return of first SpaceX crew

James Marshall
August 1, 2020

"Teams will continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Isaias and evaluate impacts to weather around the Florida peninsula, including the potential splashdown sites in the Gulf of Mexico and along the state's Atlantic coast", said NASA, in a statement.

Feeling sick "is the way it is with a water landing", he said during the crew's final news conference from the International Space Station.

On Wednesday, SpaceX and NASA cleared the Dragon crew capsule to depart the International Space Station and head home after a two-month flight. The capsule has been docked at the space station since May 31, allowing Hurley and Behnken to chip in with spacewalks and experiments. Launch and rendezvous went flawlessly, "so we expect nothing different for the splashdown", he said.

A SpaceX recovery ship staffed by engineers, medical personnel and fast-response support crews with jet skis and other gear will be stationed nearby to recover the capsule.

Undocking from the International Space Station is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday. 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". The prime target is off the coast of Panama City, halfway between Tallahassee and Pensacola. "There's more chow and I know the space station program's got more work that we can do". But Hurley and Behnken, both space shuttle veterans and former test pilots, said Friday they are confident the SpaceX capsule will bring them safely back to Earth.

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.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley (right) and Bob Behnken (second right) after boarding the International Space Station, where they were welcomed by fellow astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy (center) and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin (left) and Ivan Vagner (second left).

"Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are targeting 2:42 p.m. EDT Sunday, Aug. 2, for the splashdown and conclusion of the Demo-2 test flight mission", said NASA, in a statement.

NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing for US -based crew transport after the space shuttles retired in 2011.

Elon Musk's SpaceX company made history on May 30 when launching Hurley and Behnken.

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley says that he and his crewmate Robert Behnken are prepared for the possibility of seasickness. The launch marked the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011. "My son is six years old, and I can tell from the videos that I get, talking to him on the phone, that he's changed a lot, even in the couple of months that we've been up here".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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