U.S. astronauts pack up for uncommon splashdown in SpaceX capsule

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Two U.S. astronauts about to make the primary splashdown return in 45 years stated Friday they’ll have seasick luggage prepared to make use of if wanted.
SpaceX and NASA plan to carry Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken again Sunday afternoon within the firm’s Dragon capsule, aiming for the Gulf of Mexico simply off the Florida Panhandle. Flight controllers are protecting shut watch on Hurricane Isaias, anticipated to stay to Florida’s east coast.
Hurley stated if he and Behnken get sick whereas bobbing within the waves awaiting restoration, it received’t be the primary time for a crew. Astronauts returning within the early 1970s from Skylab, NASA’s first house station, didn’t really feel effectively following splashdown, Hurley famous.
Feeling sick “is the way in which it’s with a water touchdown,” he stated in the course of the crew’s remaining information convention from the Worldwide House Station.
This might be SpaceX’s first splashdown with astronauts on board, ending a two-month take a look at flight that started Could 30 at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart — the primary launch of a crew from the U.S. in practically a decade. The capsule has been docked on the house station since Could 31, permitting Hurley and Behnken to chip in with spacewalks and experiments.
Hurley stated the emergency and different gear has checked out effectively aboard Dragon, dubbed Endeavour. Launch and rendezvous went flawlessly, “so we anticipate nothing totally different for the splashdown,” he stated.
Their departure leaves three on board, one American and two Russians.
The Dragon capsule might be within the water for about an hour earlier than it’s hauled by crane onto a SpaceX restoration ship. It will likely be one other hour earlier than the hatch is opened and the astronauts emerge. Flight surgeons might be among the many dozens of the restoration workforce members.
The plan is for the Dragon to undock from the house station on Saturday, a day earlier than splashdown. The prime goal is off the coast of Panama Metropolis, midway between Tallahassee and Pensacola.
“We received’t depart the house station with out some good touchdown alternatives in entrance of us, good splashdown climate,” Behnken advised reporters. “We might keep up right here longer. There’s extra chow and I do know the house station program’s bought extra work that we will do.”
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Like launch, the experience again might be basically automated, with the crew and flight controllers intervening provided that obligatory.
Behnken has an additional purpose to carry this Dragon again in fine condition. Following refurbishment, the capsule will fly once more subsequent spring with a crew of 4 — together with his spouse, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. SpaceX’s subsequent astronaut flight is focused for the top of September.
Behnken stated even earlier than his launch, that they had an inkling she can be assigned to a SpaceX flight. NASA introduced the information this week.
“And naturally, I’ll have plenty of suggestions for her,” he stated.
Hurley is married to lately retired NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg.
NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing for U.S.-based crew transport after the house shuttles retired in 2011. Russian rockets had been the one means for astronauts to get to the house station till SpaceX turned the primary non-public firm to launch people into orbit two months in the past. Boeing’s first crew flight isn’t anticipated till subsequent 12 months.

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