Watch live: 2 NASA astronauts just made a fiery return to Earth aboard SpaceX's new Crew Dragon ship
- NASA astronauts
Bob Behnkenand Doug Hurleyweathered a speedy, scorching-hot fall through Earth's atmosphere in SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceshipon Sunday. They splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. ET.
- In May, SpaceX made history by launching them into space aboard Crew Dragon.
- The ship and its crew successfully undocked from the
International Space Stationon Saturday night.
- You can watch the end of their journey live below on NASA TV and YouTube.
After traveling more than 27 million miles around planet Earth, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have successfully returned home in SpaceX's new
The two-man crew splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola, Florida at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday, finishing the first commercial astronaut mission ever, called Demo-2.The men survived a fiery plunge through Earth's atmosphere, which Musk had previously said was the part of the journey that concerned him the most.Advertisement
But the Crew Dragon capsule weathered the fall and its parachutes deployed perfectly, slowing it down just minutes before it landed safely in the ocean. Recovery teams in speedboats and helicopters rushed to the spaceship to pick up Behnken and Hurley.
Despite Hurricane Isaias strafing Florida's Atlantic coast with brutal weather, NASA mission controllers reported the weather was calm and the seas were smooth at splashdown sites off the Gulf coast."It looks like glass. It's awesome," one mission controller said on NASA's live feed ahead of the landing.
The two astronauts and SpaceX made history in May when the company became the first ever to launch a spaceship carrying people to the International Space Station, as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. In doing so,
What Crew Dragon's return was likeThe astronauts successfully undocked from the ISS at 7:35 p.m. ET, kicking off the first major stage of their return voyage. They then performed a few propellant burns, putting them on course for the landing in the Gulf of Mexico.Advertisement
Behnken and Hurley were awoken Sunday morning by their children in a pre-recorded message.
"I'm happy you went into space but I'm even happier that you're coming back home," said Hurley's 10-year-old son, Jack. "Hey, wake up! Don't worry, you can sleep in tomorrow — hurry home so we can go get my dog. We love you, dad," said Behnken's 6-year-old son, Theodore.On Sunday afternoon, Endeavour shed its heavy, cylindrical trunk, which would otherwise interfere with landing (and should burn up in the atmosphere). After the separation was complete, Crew Dragon hurtled toward Earth at up to 17,500 miles per hour, or nearly 25 times the speed of sound.Advertisement
During this fall, the spaceship's heat shield protected the hardware and crew from temperatures of up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Musk has called this part of the journey his "biggest concern."
After the Crew Dragon reentered the thicker parts of Earth's atmosphere, it deployed two sets of parachutes. The first opened at about 18,000 feet, then another set came around 6,500 feet. After that came the splashdown.Advertisement
NASA's continuous coverage will conclude Sunday with a
Below is NASA's full timeline of the return:1:48:50 p.m. ET - Maneuver to separate trunk
1:51:09 p.m. ET - Spaceship claw separation from trunk
1:51:54 p.m. ET - Trunk separation
1:52:15 p.m. ET - Burn to fly away from the trunk
1:56:45 p.m. ET - Deorbit burn
2:08:09 p.m. ET - Deorbit burn complete
2:08:10 p.m. ET - Reposition for entry communications
2:11:27 p.m. ET - Spaceship's nosecone closed
2:32:00 p.m. ET - Maneuver to finalize the angle of reentry
2:36:10 p.m. ET - Anticipated communications blackout
2:36:33 p.m. ET - Entry through Earth's atmosphere
2:36:40 p.m. ET - Spaceship auto-corrects entry position
2:42:17 p.m. ET - Anticipated return of communications
2:44:13 p.m. ET - Drogue parachutes deploy
2:44:20 p.m. ET - Drogue parachutes fully inflate
2:45:00 p.m. ET - Main parachutes deploy
2:48:24 p.m. ET - Splashdown near Pensacola, Fla.Advertisement
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