SpaceX Crew Dragon Set to Depart ISS Today Aug. 1 with 2 NASA Astronauts: Watch Live

Expedition 63 crewmembers aboard the International Space Station on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. In front (from left) are, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. In back (from left) are, Roscosmos cosmonaut and Flight Engineer, Ivan Vagner, Commander Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos cosmonaut and Flight Engineer, Anatoly Ivanishin. Screenshot Credit: NASA TV/Space UpClose

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – After two action packed months in space the two-man veteran crew of NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will depart the International Space Station (ISS) later today, Saturday, Aug. 1 inside their history-making SpaceX Demo-2 Crew Dragon Endeavour test vehicle and return to Earth tomorrow afternoon Aug. 2 for the 1st splashdown of Americans from space in 45 years.

The Demo-2 mission also marks the first piloted return of a SpaceX Crew Dragon – a flight of many historic firsts already including the first launch of US astronauts from US soil on US rockets in 9 years.

Furthermore the Crew Dragon departure also comes just 2 days after the history making launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on a mission to search for life beyond Earth.

But the churning weather in the form of threating Hurricane Isaias off the US East Coast has forced a change in targeting for the ocean landing zone from the Florida’s  coastline Atlantic Ocean coastline stretching from Cape Canaveral to Jacksonville to Florida’s West Coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the Demo-2 undocking and splashdown plans.

“NEWS: Teams from @NASA and @SpaceX remain GO with plans to bring @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken home to Earth on Sunday afternoon. We will continue to monitor weather before undocking Saturday night,” Bridenstine tweeted.

Behnken and Hurley and the three-man crew of Expedition 63 who will remain behind and aboard the ISS held a joint farewell ceremony at 9:15 a.m. ET this morning as they make final preparation to depart the station

“The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important part is bringing us home [to our sons],” Behnken said.

“For Jack and Theo, Tremor the apatosaurus is headed home soon and he’ll be with your dads. You’ll have to pick which one of us is your favorite.”

 

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, “Endeavor,” is scheduled to undock from the space station at 7:34 p.m. EDT – so long as favorable weather conditions for splashdown permit off the coast of Florida.

“We’re getting ready for the return of @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken to Earth this weekend! Here are 10 things you should know about the splashdown of our @SpaceX test flight,” Bridenstine tweeted.

“NASA and SpaceX teams will decide on the primary location for splashdown later this afternoon, about six hours before Crew Dragon undocks from the orbiting laboratory. Teams will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Isaias and evaluate impacts to the landing sites in the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida Panhandle,” NASA officials said.

You can watch NASA TV and the agency’s website for live undocking coverage that begins at 5 p.m. for the 7:34 p.m. undocking

Among other items they will be returning the US Flag brought up to the ISS on the last US astronaut launch in 2011 by Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-135 mission in July 2011- as well as the Apatosaurus named ‘Tremor’ – the Zero-G indicator suggest by their two sons.

“This flag has spent some time up here, on the order of 9 years… I’m very proud to return this flag home and see what’s next for it on its journey to the Moon.” – @Astro_Doug with the U.S. flag that will return home with the #LaunchAmerica crew & fly on the 1st #Artemis mission,” NASA tweeted.

“It’s an exciting day for us all as we bid farewell to our two friends and colleagues, Bob and Doug, as they complete the journey of this amazing test mission,” said Expedition 63 commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.

“All my bags are packed,” Behnken tweeted.

Hurley tweeted a birdseye photo of Hurricane Isaias from aboard ISS.

“This photo of Hurricane Isaias was taken a few hours ago as it travels northwest between Cuba and the Bahamas. I hope the people in its path stay safe and I hope it doesn’t disrupt our return to Earth on Sunday,” Hurley tweeted.

Splashdown is slated to occur at 2:42 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Aug. 2, and will also be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

The NASA and SpaceX teams have seven splashdown zones to choose from on the East and Gulf coasts of Florida.

This map shows the SpaceX Crew Dragon’s seven landing zones for Demo-2. Credit: NASA

If all goes as planned Behnken and Hurley will have spent 64 days in orbit or just over two months.

 

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks to the media at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center backdropped by full scale Mars 2020 rover replica and iconic VAB on July 30, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The last US splashdown occurred almost exactly 45 years ago on the historic Apollo Soyuz test flight on July 24, 1975 – the first international joint mission and handshake in space between the US and the then Soviet Union that absolutely paved the way to international cooperation culminating in the International Space Station.

The historic Demo-2 test flight mission began with the beautiful and flawless blastoff of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA veteran astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifting off  at 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida bound for the International Space Station (ISS) – to the cheers of tens of thousands of spectators gathered from around America and three days after dismal weather forced a scrub of the first attempt on Wednesday.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. As seen from the Indian River lagoon, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Behnken and Hurley flying aboard the commercial SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour  safely docked at the ISS Sunday morning, May 31, just 19 hours after the first human launch from US soil for the first time in nine years on a history making and flawless blastoff from the Florida Space Coast.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon from the Demo-2 mission and Japan’s HTV-9 resupply ship figure prominently in this photograph as they are docked at the International Space Station taken during the July 1, 2020 spacewalk by NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy to upgrade the power system. Credit: NASA

SpaceX also successfully landed the 1st stage booster.

1st Falcon 9 1st stage booster that launched humans and landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship from historic NASA Demo-2 test flight mission is towed by tug Hawk and SpaceX fleet past Jetty Park Pier into Port Canaveral channel Tuesday afternoon June 2, 2020 – 3 days after SpaceX launch May 30 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

And just last week they relaunched the booster and landed it for a 2nd time

Glorious sunrise arrival of 2x launched/landed Falcon 9 1st stage booster atop the JRTI droneship towed by tug Lauren Foss and SpaceX fleet past Jetty Park Pier into Port Canaveral channel at 7 a.m. ET on July 24, 2020. From Falcon 9 Anasis-II launch for South Korean military on July 20, 2020 from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

See our earlier articles and photos.

The Meatball and the Worm: Both NASA logos emblazoned for the 1st time on a SpaceX Falcon 9 that also counts as the 1st booster that launched humans and landed atop “Of Course I Still Love You” (OCISLY) droneship from historic NASA Demo-2 test flight mission is towed into Port Canaveral channel Tuesday afternoon June 2, 2020 – 3 days after SpaceX launch May 30 from Space Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

 

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly on board Demo-2 SpaceX Crew Dragon to the ISS from historic Launch Complex 39A from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – meeting the media after IFA launch. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 


SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission patch. Credit: NASA/SpaceX

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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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