Jump to content
BANGKOK
rooster59

NASA astronauts riding SpaceX capsule poised for weekend return, weather permitting

Recommended Posts

NASA astronauts riding SpaceX capsule poised for weekend return, weather permitting

By Joey Roulette

 

2020-08-01T184156Z_2_LYNXMPEG7025D_RTROPTP_4_SPACE-EXPLORATION-SPACEX-LAUNCH.JPG

FILE PHOTO: NASA astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley arrive at the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule in this still image taken from video May 31, 2020. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

 

(Reuters) - The two NASA astronauts who rode to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's new Crew Dragon are due to return on Sunday after a two-month voyage that marked NASA's first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.

 

U.S. astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who launched to the space station in May, are expected to board Crew Dragon around 5:30 p.m. ET and splash down at one of seven landing sites in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean at about 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday.

 

"The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important part is bringing us home," Behnken said during a farewell ceremony early on Saturday aboard the space station.

 

NASA and SpaceX officials chose the coast of Pensacola, Florida as the "prime" splashdown location for Crew Dragon on Sunday, but that selection may change between other sites in the Gulf of Mexico as the Air Force's 45th Space Wing monitors the path of Hurricane Isaias, a category 1 cyclone approaching Florida's east coast.

 

"We have plenty of opportunities here in August and we're in no hurry to come home," NASA's commercial crew manager Steve Stich said, adding the next return opportunity opens on Monday should Isaias force a delay. 

 

Stich said Crew Dragon, an acorn-shaped pod that can seat up to seven astronauts, has been in a "very healthy" condition since docking on May 31 with the space station, where astronauts have been conducting tests and monitoring how the spacecraft performs in space.

 

Upon a successful splashdown, the spacecraft will have completed its final key test to prove it can transport astronauts to and from space — a task SpaceX has accomplished dozens of times with its cargo-only capsule but never before with humans aboard.

 

"The water landing portion of it is pretty challenging from a physiological standpoint, just after coming back from being in microgravity," Hurley, a veteran of two shuttle missions, told reporters in a phone briefing on Friday.

 

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX became the first private company to send humans to orbit in May with the launch of Behnken and Hurley, who will have spent more than two months on the space station upon returning.

 

The mission marked the first time NASA launched humans from U.S. soil since its shuttle program retired in 2011. Since then the United States has relied on Russia's space program to launch its astronauts to the space station.

 

Hoping to galvanize a commercial space marketplace, NASA awarded nearly $8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model that allows the space agency to buy astronaut seats from the two companies.

 

(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Daniel Wallis)

 

reuters_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-08-02
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kudos to Space X to the mission so far, and hopefully the astronauts will return to Earth without any issues.

 

42 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

Hoping to galvanize a commercial space marketplace, NASA awarded nearly $8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model that allows the space agency to buy astronaut seats from the two companies.

It is really exciting to see the transformation of human space exploration move into the second stage.

 

The first stage was government-funded research and the construction of early rockets and 'space planes'; it simply made sense to have this as a government function as only it had the resources, both human and capital, to do it. And, it is not something that I say often, but "Well Done governments!".

 

The second stage, one of Private/Public partnership, also makes sense to me. It is one of those rare opportunities to marry up the resources of the public sector with the innovation and resourcefulness of the private sector to create something greater than the sum of it parts. On a side note, I have to say that generally speaking I am not a fan of Public/Private partnerships as they don't seem to work well (despite promising possibilities on paper), but I am very pleased with this exception.

 

I am looking forward to the next few steps, but still am a wee bit worried as to whether they will be done soon and/or properly.

 

The next step in my eyes is a permanent base on the Moon. Simply put, any future exploration of the Solar System will require ships/probes/satellites to be constructed there; it makes sense to do these things in a two-stage process. First, develop an economically-viable method of transporting whatever is needed to a lunar construction site from Earth and secondly construct the ships there. Why there? It doesn't make sense to build ships that can both launch from Earth and its gravity AND operate in a zero gravity environment; better to split the two environments and build ship specialized to each. 

 

The second big thing is some sort of global framework for the use and development of space. There are numerous questions that really need to be answered; who owns the moon? Are there property rights for an asteroid? Who should decide and allocate orbits for Earth, the Moon and/or any other body? What law applies and who will enforce it? It would be a truly great thing if Earth states could come together and discuss these issues with an eye to creating a global treaty for the development of space, but I ain't holding my breath. Sadly, I think it'll be 'make it up as you go' and it'll be a source of dispute in the future.

 

Interesting times...

 

 

 

Edited by Samui Bodoh
Lack of coffee
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Tug said:

Safe return!skys!!

They are returning to a sea landing off Florida,  in a US capsule? Or am I missing something? 

Edited by Pilotman
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, american2 said:

I wonder why one of the great lakes is not considered for splashdown.

Although the surface area of the great lakes is huge, maybe a safety factor in that there's more room for error splashing down in the ocean? I have been in a sailboat between Ca. and Hi. and been closer to the space station than to land.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...