NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Benken are preparing for their historic return to Earth on Sunday.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, called “Endeavor” by astronauts, is due to disembark from the International Space Station on Saturday and land off the coast of Florida the next day.
The astronauts spent two months in the orbital space laboratory.
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“Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are targeting 2:42 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 2, to flood and complete the Demo-2 test flight mission,” NASA said in a statement. “With this test flight, NASA and the US aerospace industry mark the first successful launch of a space station crew on a commercially built and guided US rocket and spacecraft and the safe return to Earth for this spacecraft and crew.”
The unlock from the International Space Station is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday.
“Teams will continue to closely monitor tropical storm Isaas and assess the effects of the weather around the Florida peninsula, including potential spray sites in the Gulf of Mexico and along the state’s Atlantic coast,” NASA said in a statement. “NASA and SpaceX will decide on a primary crash target approximately 6 hours before Saturday’s unlock.”
Hurley and Benken, both veterans of space shuttle missions, boarded the orbital space lab on May 31 after the eagerly awaited launch of the Demo-2 mission from the Kennedy Space Center on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. when astronauts fired from American soil after the last space shuttle flight in 2011.
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The mission is also the first time a private company, not a national government, has sent astronauts into orbit.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft took off on May 30 amid public flame. Formerly known as Capsule 206, the spacecraft was renamed Endeavor, continuing the tradition of astronauts naming their capsules.
“Today was just an amazing day,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein shortly after launch. “I can sigh with relief, but I can also tell you that I will not celebrate until Bob and Doug go home.”
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The mission is an important moment in the space agency’s sales team program.
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“This is SpaceX’s latest test flight in NASA’s commercial program and will provide performance data on the Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in orbit, docking, landing and crew return,” NASA said in a statement. .
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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