This is the return time for Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The two american astronauts had joined the international space Station (ISS) on 30 may, thanks to the capsule Crew Dragon of SpaceX. Saturday, August 1st, two hours after the closing of the hatch of the capsule, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley must désamarrer at 23h34 GMT (1h34, Sunday, Paris time). Their arrival in the ocean is scheduled for 18h42 GMT, Sunday (20h42, Paris time). A site in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of the city of Pensacola (northern Florida) has been selected as a "priority" for landing, with an alternative in the face of Panama City, said the head of Nasa, Jim Bridenstine.
"The teams work very hard, especially because of the weather in the days to come to Florida, we appreciate their efforts because we know that these decisions are not easy," said Doug Hurley. In fact, the space agency in the united states continue to follow closely the evolution of the progression of hurricane Isaias who, after having struck the Bahamas is close to Florida. The definitive green light will be given that'once the astronauts installed in Crew Dragon, just before undocking", she said.
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If the winds were too strong or the waves too high, this would make the arrival of the capsule, but also its safe recovery by ships pre-positioned. "The most difficult task was to put us in orbit, but the most important thing is to bring us back to the house," pointed out Bob Behnken few hours of the deadline. The operation is delicate, even if the last year, the capsule Dragon has accomplished this mission in a vacuum and without incident. The atmospheric re-entry, testing the resistance of the thermal shield. Then, it will be necessary to rely on large parachutes to slow the descent to the ocean.
speaking to his son and to his colleague, Bob Behnken has brandished a small dinosaur colorful, chosen by the children to accompany them on this historic mission", and he has let fly in weightlessness for a few moments. "Tremor the apatosaurus comes home with your dads !", their he started, surrounded by his two fellow russians, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, and the head of the mission, captain Chris Cassidy. "We say goodbye to our two friends and colleagues," said the latter, saying both "sad" to see them go and "delighted" that the ISS has new ways to "bring and revive" of the astronauts.
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Six back-and-forth SpaceX to the ISS
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first astronauts to be sent to the international space Station, 400 km from the Earth, by a private company, under contract with Nasa. The flight, whose departure had already been postponed because of a changing weather, also marked the first manned flight launched from the U.s. since 2011, when the space shuttles have been arrested. The Americans were traveling from aboard Russian rockets.
Nasa has tasked SpaceX, which sent since 2012 cargo to the ISS, to develop a new taxi space, and if the current mission is a certified safe, the Americans will depend more on the Russians for access to space. For three billion dollars, issued since 2011 in the framework of a fixed-price contract, SpaceX has promised to Nasa six roundtrips to the ISS, with four astronauts aboard. The French astronaut Thomas Pesquet has made it known this week that he would travel to his tower aboard the Crew Dragon Space X for its second mission on the ISS in the spring of 2021.