After a series of delays, NASA once again updated the return date of SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) due to unstable weather conditions off the coast of Florida, where the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft will splashdown. Crew-2 is now scheduled to undock from the ISS Harmony module at 2:05 p.m. EST on Monday, November 8, to begin a journey back to Earth. “Endeavour will undock autonomously and perform a fly around maneuver to photograph the exterior of the International Space Station. Once the maneuver is completed, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will aim for a splashdown at one of seven targeted landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida,” the agency shared in a press release.
The spacecraft is scheduled to splashdown no earlier than 10:33 p.m. EST on Monday night. The astronauts will cross Earth’s rough atmosphere and conduct a parachute-assisted landing in the ocean. “The NASA and SpaceX teams will determine a primary and alternate splashdown location from the seven possible landing locations prior to return, factoring in weather, crew rescue, and recovery operations. Additional decision milestones take place prior to undocking, during free flight, and before Crew Dragon performs the deorbit burn,” representatives stated. Recovery teams will search for the capsule to pick-up the crew to fly them back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The United States Coast Guard will establish a safety zone around where SpaceX and NASA expect Dragon Endeavour to land to ensure safety. NASA will Livestream the entire mission via YouTube, linked in the video below.
Upon conclusion of their mission, the Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will complete 199 days of working in outer space. They conducted dozens of science experiments, including a set of spacewalks to upgrade the Space Station’s power system. They packed Dragon with approximately 530 pounds of hardware and the results of some scientific investigations they conducted in microgravity. The science cargo will be transported as soon as possible to NASA’s cargo processing facility where researchers will pick it up to minimize the effects of gravity on the research’s results.
The agency also updated SpaceX’s Crew-3 lift off date, now they target to launch no earlier than 9:03 p.m. EST Wednesday, November 10, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida [date is subject to change]. It will be the third operational mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program that aims to conduct frequent human spaceflight missions launched from American soil.
NASA TV SCHEDULE
Monday, Nov. 8
11:45 a.m. EST– Coverage begins for 12:40 p.m. hatch closure.
1:45 p.m. EST– Coverage begins for 2:05 p.m. undocking (NASA will provide continuous coverage from undocking to splashdown).
10:33 p.m. EST– Splashdown. NASA & SpaceX teams will recover the spacecraft.
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: NASA