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How to watch SpaceX bring NASA astronauts back to Earth this weekend

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley went in Crew Dragon before the launch scrub on 27 May.


The SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission has been smooth sailing so far for NASA’s Commercial crew program. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley managed to launch and went to the International Space Station at the end of May, and now they are ready to come back as early as Sunday if the weather cooperates.

The return to Earth takes some time, and NASA will be there on the road with a livestream on NASA TV.

Stormy weather at the potential splash sites in the Atlantic can complicate the schedule. “We will be watching the weather very closely. We have a series of sites and many days. If we do not unlock on Saturday to get home on Sunday, we would move undocking to Monday,”

; NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich said in a statement on Wednesday.

While time information may change, NASA has established the following coverage schedule for the most important milestones:

Saturday, August 1:

  • ISS farewell ceremony coverage at 6:10 p.m. PT.
  • Unloading of cover begins at 14:15 PT before kl. 16:34.

Sunday, August 2:

  • Splashdown in the Atlantic is directed to 11:42 PT.
  • News conference after splashdown canceled for 14 PT.

The feedback process is dramatic. “Crew Dragon will travel at orbital speed before re-entry and move at approximately 17,500 miles per hour. The maximum temperature it will experience at reentry is approximately 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit,” NASA said in a statement on July 24.

A SpaceX recovery ship meets Crew Dragon (as the astronauts were named Endeavor) to collect the spaceship and parachutes from the water. Endeavor is hoisted on the ship and Behnken and Hurley are greeted by a medical team.

It rides a lot on a safe, uneventful return for Crew Dragon. “This is SpaceX’s final test flight and provides data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in orbit, docking, splashdown and recovery operations,” NASA said in a release.

If Crew Dragon passes the final tests, SpaceX will be able to provide regular, operational flights to the ISS starting later this year. And that would break NASA’s confidence in Russian spacecraft for the first time since the shuttle.

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