“NASA and SpaceX are going ahead with plans to bring NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken home from the International Space Station for a splashdown this weekend, even though Hurricane Isaias is heading for Florida’s Atlantic coast,” reports GeekWire.
“Fortunately, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is heading for waters off Florida’s other coast.”
NASA said weather conditions are all systems go for the targeted site in the Gulf of Mexico, close to Pensacola, as well as for an alternate site off the coast of Panama City, Fla. That opened the way for preparations to proceed for the Dragon Endeavour to undock at 7:34 p.m. ET (4:34 p.m. PT) today, with a splashdown set for 2:41 p.m. ET (11:41 a.m. PT) Sunday.
The plan could be adjusted, before or after the docking, if the weather forecast changes. NASA and SpaceX had made plans for seven potential splashdown targets, but due to Isaias’ strength, NASA concentrated on the westernmost sites.
Live coverage has begun online, and will continue for the next 19 hours.
Tomorrow’s splashdown “will mark the first return of a commercially built and operated U.S. spacecraft from orbit,” reports GeekWire, “and the first at-sea return of U.S. astronauts since the topsy-turvy splashdown of NASA’s Apollo-Soyuz crew in 1975…”
“The next SpaceX Crew Dragon launch to the space station is scheduled for as early as next month. And Bob Behnken’s wife, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, is due to be part of a Dragon crew heading for the station next spring.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.