Later this afternoon, Behnken and Hurley are anticipated to climb aboard their Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Dragon Endeavour, which has been docked on the house station for the reason that astronauts arrived in May. If the climate forecast appears acceptable, the capsule will go away the house station round 7:30 pm ET and start its 19-hour trek to a splashdown off the coast of Florida. If the Crew Dragon is cleared to go away this night, it is anticipated to succeed in its water touchdown at 2:42 pm ET Sunday.
The greatest query is that if the climate will maintain.
NASA and SpaceX have been conserving a detailed eye on Hurricane Isaias, which is predicted to strategy Florida’s east coast this weekend.
That’s why NASA is hoping Crew Dragon can land within the Gulf of Mexico, off Florida’s western coast, the place forecasters expect calmer waters.
A NASA spokesperson mentioned Friday that officers are presently aiming to land the capsule close to Panama City — one in every of 4 potential splashdown websites within the Gulf that had been preselected by NASA and SpaceX.
Officials will proceed to regulate the forecast main as much as Dragon Endeavour’s departure this night. If all goes effectively, Hurley and Behnken will strap into Crew Dragon. Immediately after undocking at 7:32 pm ET, the Crew Dragon’s engines will gentle up twice in fast succession to thrust the capsule away from the house station.
Then, Dragon Endeavour will slowly descend from the ISS, which orbits about 250 miles above Earth utilizing transient engine burns to decrease its altitude in a single day. Crew Dragon’s maneuvers will all be executed by on-board computer systems, and Behnken and Hurley could have loads of meals and water on the car. They’ll even have an opportunity to sleep earlier than splashdown.
By Sunday afternoon, the Crew Dragon will likely be orbiting simply above the thick halo of environment that surrounds Earth. The car will ignite its engine as soon as once more because it slices again into the air, touring at 17,500 miles per hour. Rapid air compression and the friction between the air and spacecraft will warmth the skin of the spacecraft to about 3,500 levels Fahrenheit — a harmful a part of the journey. But a thick warmth protect will preserve Behnken and Hurley secure inside.
The capsule will then deploy a collection of parachutes to sluggish its descent. By the time it hits the water, it ought to be touring lower than 20 miles per hour, in line with a NASA spokesperson.