Jim Bridenstine, NASA's Administrator said that SpaceX and NASA are looking to target Pensacola in Florida as the main location for the return of Crew Dragon bringing back two American Astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS).
"We are targeting undocking at 7.34 p.m. EDT today," tweeted Bridenstine on Saturday. After the scheduled assessment of the weather conditions for the return, SpaceX and NASA teams are proceeding with the necessary preparations to bring astronauts, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, home aboard the "Endeavour" spacecraft
Closely Monitoring Splashdown Sites
Conditions are "Go" at the primary targeted site, off the coast Pensacola, and alternate site off the coast of Panama City in the Gulf of Mexico for splashdown and recovery scheduled at 2.41 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, August 2, according to NASA, Xinhua news agency reported.
Teams will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Isaias and evaluate impacts to the potential splashdown sites, said NASA. SpaceX will monitor changes to conditions until 2.5 hours prior to the scheduled undocking when a determination to proceed with departure will be made.
If conditions are marginal and exceed the acceptance criteria, a joint recommendation by SpaceX and NASA will be made whether to proceed with undocking. The splashdown will wrap up NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 test flight after more than two months at the ISS.
Offering Data on Performance
It will be the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the space station, said NASA. Hurley and Behnken arrived at the ISS in the Crew Dragon on May 31 following a launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30.
This is SpaceX's final test flight and is providing data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, splashdown, and recovery operations, according to NASA.
(With inputs from agencies)