NASA: Dragon crew will return to Earth August 2nd


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Capitalism in space: Assuming that the weather cooperates, NASA has now set August 2nd as the date the manned Dragon capsule will return to Earth with its two man crew.

Assuming good weather and a smooth final few weeks on the International Space Station, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to undock from the orbiting research outpost Aug. 1 and return to Earth the next day to wrap up a 64-day test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the target dates for the Crew Dragon’s undocking and splashdown in a tweet Friday. A few hours after departing the space station, the Crew Dragon will fire its Draco thrusters for a braking burn and re-enter the atmosphere, targeting a parachute-assisted splashdown at sea. “Splashdown is targeted for Aug. 2,” he tweeted. “Weather will drive the actual date. Stay tuned.”

Note that the recovery operations, as has been the case with everything else on this flight, will be run entirely by SpaceX and its employees. NASA’s only real role is that of a customer and observer, though obviously agency officials are taking a hands-on part in determining the landing date.

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2 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    I will feel a lot better when these boys are safe on land! They have a LOT of kinetic energy on orbit, and they are going to be sitting very close to where it all has to be dissipated! But it can’t be avoided.

    OTOH – let’s outgrow water landings!! Landing in the middle of the ocean is risky enough, but splashing just offshore is false security. You can drown in 50 feet of water just as well as 5000, and it raises the specter of an undershoot, a landing on land in a vehicle not designed for it!

    I hope Elon puts his foot down with NASA and says “Enough – why don’t you focus on managing Boeing if you can, and Spacex is going to do this right – propulsive landing with emergency parachute / airbag backup!”

  • A. Nonymous

    No need. Elon is moving directly to propulsive landings with no backup. Give it a few years.

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