History was made on May 30, 2020, when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 spacecraft launched from the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission launched NASA’s two astronauts – spacecraft commander Douglas Hurley and joint operations commander Robert Behnken to the International Space Station.
These astronauts are now all set to return to the home planet. The astronauts will return to Earth in the same Crew Dragon carrier. The re-entry will be achieved by a splash-down in the waters around Florida. This will mark as the first planned splash-down in about 45 years. Astro Behnken stated:
There are seven potential splash-down locations for the return of the Dragon capsule. These sites are off the coast of Florida. A splashdown site is chosen in accordance with different priorities such as time required between undocking and splashdown. Another such priority is choosing a site using “defined priorities starting with selecting a station departure date and time with the maximum number of return opportunities in geographically diverse locations to protect for weather changes.”
Post splashdown, members from SpaceX and NASA will recover the capsule. There will be two fast boats with one responsible for examining the capsule integrity and the other responsible for recovering Crew Dragon’s parachutes.
Meanwhile, the Dragon Endeavour will be returned back for inspection and processing. The SpaceX and NASA team will study the performance of the spacecraft to conclude the working of the system to conduct operations for NASA’s Commercial Crew and International Space Station Program.
NASA has already appointed astronauts for the future Crew Dragon flights. One such astronaut is Megan McArthur who is married to Behnken. Behnken stated:
NASA will provide live coverage of activities leading up to, during, and following the return of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with the agency’s astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station.
NASA has reported that live updates of the event will be available soon.