NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are preparing for their historic return to Earth on Sunday.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon, called “Endeavor” by astronauts, is scheduled to get rid of the International Space Station on Saturday and make its splash off the Florida coast the next day.
The astronauts have spent two months in orbiting the space lab.
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“Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are headed to the 14:42 EDT on Sunday, August 2, for the departure and completion of the Demo-2 test flight mission,”; NASA said in a statement . “With this test flight, NASA and the U.S. aerospace industry mark the first successful launch of a crew into the space station on a commercially built and operated U.S. rocket and spacecraft, and a safe return to the Earth for this spaceship and this crew. “
The International Space Station landing is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. Saturday EDT.
“Teams will closely monitor tropical storm Isaiah and assess climate impacts on the Florida peninsula, including potential outbreak sites in the Gulf of Mexico and along the state’s Atlantic coast,” he said. NASA, in a statement. “NASA and SpaceX will make a decision on a major delivery target of about 6 hours before unlocking on Saturday.”
Hurley and Behnken, both veterans of the space launch missions, embarked on the orbiting space lab on May 31 after the expected launch of the Kennedy Space Center Demo-2 mission to the top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. it was the first time astronauts launched from American soil since the last spacecraft flight in 2011.
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The mission is also the first time a private company, rather than a national government, has sent astronauts into orbit.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon was launched on May 30 amid intense advertising. Formerly known as Capsule 206, the spacecraft was renamed Endeavor, continuing the astronauts’ tradition of naming the capsules.
“Today was just an amazing day,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said shortly after the launch. “I can breathe a sigh of relief, but I can also tell you I’m not going to celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely.”
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The mission is an important milestone in the space agency’s Commercial Crew program.
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“This is SpaceX’s final test flight in NASA’s Commercial Cream Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as operations in orbit, docking, landing and return of the crew, “NASA said in the statement.
Associated Press contributed to this article.
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