Bob Behnken en Doug Hurley.
Photo: NASA / SpaceX
If everything goes smoothly, SpaceX’s first manned Crew Dragon space capsule, with two American astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board, must detach from the International Space Station on the night of Saturday 1 to Sunday 2 August 2020. The new manned space capsule will then return to Earth and land in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The return to Earth will be broadcast LIVE through this article!
The historic space mission of Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken is coming to an end. The first manned Crew Dragon space capsule, which is called ‘Endeavor’, has to detach itself from the international space station at 1h34 Belgian time (2 August). The two astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were launched into space on May 30, 2020 with a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX, after which they attached the new space capsule to the International Space Station. While on board the space station, the new Crew Dragon space capsule was extensively tested and analyzed, and Behnken and Hurley also conducted numerous scientific experiments. Until now, this manned test flight has gone smoothly, but the return to the forefront of a space capsule always remains an exciting and risky moment. For example, the heat shield of this new capsule must withstand extreme heat generated during its return to the atmosphere (temperature of approximately 1,927 degrees Celsius) and then parachutes must slow down drastically from the speed of the manned capsule so that it can land safely at sea . The landing of this first manned Crew Dragon space capsule becomes even more exciting as Florida will soon be dealing with Hurricane Isais. The landing at sea is also getting used to again for NASA and SpaceX as it is almost 45 years ago that American astronauts landed at sea. The previous American manned spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, always landed on an airstrip on Earth. The landing of the first manned Crew Dragon is scheduled for 8.42pm Belgian time (2 August) but this will be adjusted as NASA closely follows Hurricane Isais. Once the capsule is at sea, recovery teams will fish it up and help the two astronauts out of the capsule. If the return to Earth of this first manned Crew Dragon space capsule from SpaceX goes off without a hitch, the United States will once again have a reliable spacecraft capable of transporting people into space.
Follow the LIVE return here!