“The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important thing is getting us home,” Behnken said during a farewell ceremony Saturday morning aboard the space station.
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On Sunday, NASA and SpaceX officials selected the coast of Panama City, Florida as the “first” overflow location for Crew Dragon, but that selection could change as the Army’s 45th Space Wing l he air is monitoring the path of Hurricane Isaias, a Category 1 cyclone approaching Florida. East Coast. “We have a lot of opportunities here in August and we are in no rush to get home,” said Steve Stich, director of the NASA business team, adding that the next return opportunity would open on Monday if Isaias imposed a delay.
Stich said Crew Dragon, an acorn-shaped pod that can accommodate up to seven astronauts, has been in “very healthy” condition since docking May 31 with the space station, where astronauts performed tests and monitored performance of the spaceship. space.
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After a successful watering, the spacecraft will have completed its final key test to prove it can transport astronauts to and from space – a task SpaceX has accomplished dozens of times with its cargo pod, but never before. with humans on board.
Astronaut Doug Hurley describes his experience aboard the SpaceX Dragon and says the toilets on board “worked very well”
“The landing part of it is quite difficult from a physiological standpoint, right after coming back from microgravity,” Hurley, a veteran of two shuttle missions, told reporters in a phone briefing. Friday.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to send humans into orbit in May with the launch of Behnken and Hurley, who will have spent more than two months on the space station upon their return.
This mission marked the first time that NASA has launched humans from American soil since withdrawing from its shuttle program in 2011. Since then, the United States has relied on the Russian space program to launch its astronauts to the United States. space station.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule arrives at the International Space Station
Hoping to galvanize a commercial space market, NASA awarded nearly $ 8 billion to SpaceX and Boeing Co collectively in 2014 to develop dueling space capsules, experimenting with a contract model allowing the space agency to purchase astronaut seats from both companies. (Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Daniel Wallis)