After a roughly two-month stay on the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are on their way home in a history-making SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
Sunday afternoon, the spacecraft will conduct several maneuvers and burns to position them for a fiery Earth re-entry and eventual 2:48 p.m. EDT splashdown off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
From there, SpaceX and Air Force teams will rush to secure Behnken and Hurley, and then transport them to an airport for a flight to Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The mission, officially designated SpaceX Demo-2, was a demonstration flight of SpaceX’s crewed Dragon spacecraft, and the return leg of the trip will mark the final stage in the more than 60-day flight to the International Space Station. The mission marked the first time in nearly a decade that NASA astronauts launched from U.S. soil to the ISS.
Behnken and Hurley launched from the Kennedy Space Center in May when a Falcon 9 rocket boosted the Dragon spacecraft into orbit 250 miles above the Earth.
The splashdown will be NASA’s first in 45 years.
Here’s the full Sunday timeline (all times Eastern):
- 1:51 p.m.: Crew Dragon “trunk” separation
- 1:56 p.m.: De-orbit burn
- 2:36 p.m.: Entry process begins; expected loss of signal
- 2:42 p.m.: Re-acquisition of signal
- 2:45 p.m.: Main parachutes deploy
- 2:48 p.m.: Splashdown off the coast of Pensacola
See live video above and Twitter updates below:
Follow reporter Emre Kelly on Twitter: @EmreKelly
Coronavirus live updates: Texas doc fights ‘war against COVID and war against stupidity’; Birx warns rural Americans; stimulus talks drag on