NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are packing up to leave International Space Station. They’re going to create history by going aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Spacecraft. This whole journey will last for 19 hours until they splashdown back on Earth.
TIMING AND UNDOCKING OF THE SPACEX CREW DRAGON
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft was already docked at the Spacestation since the Astronauts arrived there in May. The Dragon Endeavour is scheduled to undock the International Space Station by 7:34 pm EDT (5:00 am IST). It will take 19 hours from the International Space Station to splashdown near the coast of Florida. It is expected that the spacecraft will finish its water landing by 2:42 pm ET Sunday.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS MISSION?
It will be the first time that the astronauts will come back to Earth in a SpaceX space shuttle. For SpaceX, this is the first time to perform a crew spaceflight mission. Behnken and Hurley were launched to the station on May 30. And they will spend another day in the orbit before arriving back to Earth, confirmed NASA officials.
Behnken and Hurley a.k.a “Bob and Doug” are also the first crew of the NASA’s Commercial Crew program. The veteran astronauts started the whole departure process early with a Farwell Ceremony to mark this historic moment.
“It’s hard to put into words just what it was like to be a part of this Expedition 63,” Hurley said. He added, “It’ll be kind of a memory that will last a lifetime for me.”
“Launching into space may have been the toughest part of this mission, but the most important part in bringing us home,” Behnken stated.
THE WHOLE LANDING PROCESS OF SPACEX CREW DRAGON
The biggest concern in the mission is the weather. NASA and SpaceX are monitoring the Hurrican Isaias. The Hurricane is expected to hit Florida’s east coast by the weekend.
NASA is hoping for the shuttle to land on the waters of Gulf of Mexico where the weather is calmer. They also added that the landing site may change with concern to the change in weather conditions.
The Astronauts are provided with a lot of food during the journey and they also have a chance to sleep before the landing. On Sunday afternoon, the shuttle will descend from the ISS and orbit 250 miles above Earth. And will use the engine to slowly descend. The shuttle will orbit around the thick halo of the atmosphere. After entering the thin layer of air the Shuttle will gain the speed of 17,000 miles per hour. And all of this will create friction with the atmosphere and rapid air compression. This will raise the temperature of the outer body of the shuttle by 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. But the thick heat shield will keep both the astronauts safe. And several parachutes will be deployed to land the shuttle with a speed of 20 miles per hour