After a two-month stay at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will soon return to Earth in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, the first crew return journey for the vehicle, and first at NASA Will splash 45 years.
The US space agency is targeting August 1 due to the next day’s splatter. But concern over a developing weather system that could cause deterioration in splash areas near Florida could lead to travel delays.
NASA officials discussed the final preparations for the crew dragon’s return journey in a meeting on Wednesday, July 30. They are currently investigating a possible tropical cyclone developing in the Caribbean, which, if it comes to fruition, will likely prompt NASA to wait. To prevail for a calm condition.
“The wind speed cannot exceed 15 feet per second or about 10 mph,” the program manager of the commercial crew, Steve Stick, said Wednesday. “This is for the safety of how the vehicle lands in the water and how the water will come up and surround the vehicle on touchdown.”
Stich said: “We don’t want any rain in this area, we don’t want rain on a parachute or vehicle. [and we don’t want] Any electricity
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Steve Stich, @Commercial_Cruise Program Manager, discusses the possible weather-related obstacles we are monitoring as we prepare for the #LunchAmerica crew to return to Earth on August 2: pic.twitter.com/XaaozeQgdd
& Mdash; NASA (@NASA) July 29, 2020
After landing in the water, a retrieval ship will hoist the crew deck onto the main deck before allowing the astronaut to exit the capsule before exiting the hatch. A helicopter will then take two astronauts from ship to shore.
The operation also means that the situation must be clear and calm for the helicopter pilot to fly, so that Hurley and Bacon are grounded back. Bad weather can mean poor visibility, and if the ship’s deck is moving too much in the water, the helicopter will not be able to land.
Stich said that if the weather starts to be particularly troubling, they don’t even think of ignoring Saturday.
“The quality of this vehicle is that we can stop at the space station … and we will wait for the weather to clear,” he said.
Before coming back to Earth, Behenken docked with the ISS by tweeting a photo (below) of the SpaceX crew dragon vehicle, remarking that his family was very keen on his return home.
If the weather is right at our splashdown location, this time next week the crew of @ SpaceX will be docked in front of Dragon Endeavor @Space_Station. My family is excited! #LandAmerica pic.twitter.com/Kbpxcnb2Pv
& Mdash; Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) July 29, 2020