NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are preparing for a historic return to Earth on Sunday.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon, astronauts called Endeavor, is scheduled to disembark from the International Space Station on Saturday and land off the coast of Florida the next day.
The astronauts spent two months in an orbiting space laboratory.
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“Weather permitting, NASA and SpaceX are targeting at 2:42 p.m. “EDT on Sunday, August 2, to predict and complete the Demo-2 test flight mission,” NASA said in a statement. “In this test flight, NASA and the U.S. aerospace industry mark the first successful launch of a crew on a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft and the safe return of that spacecraft and crew to Earth.”;
Disconnection from the International Space Station is scheduled for Saturday at 7:34 p.m. EDT.
“The teams will continue to closely monitor tropical storm Isaias and assess the weather environment on the Florida Peninsula, including potential explosion sites in the Gulf of Mexico and along the state’s Atlantic coast,” NASA said in a statement. “NASA and SpaceX will decide on the original launch target approximately 6 hours before Saturday’s disconnection.”
Hurley and Behnken, both veterans of Space Shuttle missions, entered the orbiting space laboratory. May 31 After the eagerly awaited Demo-2 mission, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. The launch marked the first time astronauts had been launched from American soil since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011.
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The mission is also the first time a private company, rather than a national government, has sent astronauts into orbit.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon took off on May 30, in public. Formerly known as the 206 capsule, the spacecraft was renamed Endeavor, continuing the astronaut tradition of naming its capsules.
“Today was just a wonderful day,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shortly after the launch. “I can breathe a sigh of relief, but I can also say I’m not going to celebrate until Bob and Douge are safe at home.”
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The mission is an important part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew program.
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“This is the latest SpaceX test flight under NASA’s commercial crew program and will provide data on Falcon 9, Crew Dragon and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, dock, landing and crew return operations,” NASA said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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