The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft detached from the International Space Station on Saturday with two American astronauts on board, beginning their journey back to Earth despite a storm threatening Florida.
Images from NASA showed the capsule slowly moving away from the ISS into the darkness of space, ending two months on board for the first US astronauts to reach the orbiting laboratory of a US spacecraft in close proximity. of a decade.
“And they are gone!” the U.S. space agency tweeted, with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken set to splash on Sunday.
– Johnson Space Center (@NASA_Johnson) Aug 2, 2020
NASA later added that the capsule had been confirmed “on a safe course”.
The proposed projection sites are off the west coast of Florida, while Tropical Storm Isaias is heading towards the east coast of the state.
NASA chose to bring the pair home despite the threat of Isaias, who was demoted to a tropical storm following a hurricane on Saturday.
“Now is the entry, descent and docking phase after disembarkation, hopefully later today,” Hurley said during a farewell ceremony aboard the ISS. which aired on NASA TV.
“The teams are working very hard, especially with the weather dynamics over the next few days around Florida,” he said.
Earlier at the ISS ceremony, Behnken said that “the hardest part is getting us thrown. But the most important is getting us home.”
Speaking to his son and Hurley’s son, he held up a toy dinosaur the kids chose to send on a mission and said, “Tremor The Apatosaurus is coming home soon and he’ll be with your dads.”
Behnken later tweeted: “All my bags are packed, I’m good to go.”
Head of Mission Chris Cassidy called the day an “exciting day” and praised the importance of having a new form of transportation for astronauts.
The mission, which took off on May 30, marked the first time a crewed spacecraft had been launched into orbit from U.S. soil since 2011, when the space shuttle program ended.
It was also the first time that a private company had visited the ISS with astronauts.
The United States paid SpaceX and aerospace giant Boeing a total of around $ 7 billion for their “space taxi” contracts.
But Boeing’s program fell seriously after a failed test late last year that left SpaceX, a company founded only in 2002, as the clear leader.
For the past nine years, American astronauts have traveled exclusively on Russian Soyuz rockets, at a cost of around $ 80 million per seat.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)