The two-man SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is due to splash down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday (2 August) to complete its two-month demo mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
What time and where will SpaceX Crew Dragon splash down?
The crew is expected to splash down at 18:48 GMT/UTC (14:48 ET).
The target landing area is in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. It will be the first splashdown in 45 years since the joint US and Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975.
Where can I watch SpaceX Crew Dragon splash down?
NASA TV is already hosting a live-stream of the return of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from their 63 days in space.
NASA TV, which began streaming the programme at 11:25 UTC/GMT are welcoming questions from viewers.
Behnken and Hurley have been in space since 30 May, when they launched at the helm of the first crewed US mission to orbit on a private spacecraft, part of a Space X-NASA partnership.
Wearing custom-made SpaceX-built pressure suits, Hurley and Behnken monitored the departure on touchscreen displays inside their spacecraft. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, commander of the station’s Expedition 63 crew, rang the “ship’s bell” and ceremoniously announced the Dragon’s undocking.
Cassidy and his Russian crewmates – Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner – will remain aboard the ISS until October, when they will return to a landing in Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Three new crew members will launch to the ISS on 14 October on a new Soyuz spaceship.
During their two-month stay, Hurley and Behnken assisted Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner with experiments and maintenance. Behnken also joined Cassidy on four spacewalks in June and July to replace batteries on the space station’s solar power modules.
The journey home
After a series of leak checks, an undocking command at 23:30 GMT on Saturday kick-started automated steps for SpaceX to leave the ISS. Power umbilicals detached inside the docking mechanism, then 12 hooks opened before the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft fired thrusters in a pair of short pulses to boost itself away from the research complex.
The crew was originally due to splash down in the Atlantic but the location has been changed because of the pending arrival of Hurricane Isaias on the east coast of Florida.
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