NASA Astronauts Wake Up, Prep SpaceX Crew Dragon For Splashdown

First Crew Dragon Splashdown

SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon parachutes to a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean during the uncrewed Demo-1 mission on March 8, 2019. Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are beginning their final day in orbit inside the Crew Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft ahead of splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. EDT this afternoon.

NASA’s live coverage of the return continues.

To wake them, Mission Control Hawthorne played the dads an audio message from their sons.

Conditions remain “Go” at the primary targeted site, off the coast of Pensacola, and alternate site off the coast of Panama City in the Gulf of Mexico for splashdown and recovery.

Here’s the timeline for return activities (all times Eastern):

  • 1:51 p.m. – Crew Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Crew Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
  • 1:51 p.m. – Trunk separation
  • 1:56 p.m. – Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:08 p.m. – Deorbit burn complete
  • 2:11 p.m. – Nosecone deploys
  • 2:32 p.m. – Crew Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
  • 2:44 p.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
  • 2:45 p.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
  • 2:48 p.m. – Splashdown

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 7:35 p.m. Saturday, two very small engine burns separating Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft slowly maneuvered away from the orbital laboratory. Once flying free, Dragon Endeavour autonomously executed four departure burns that moved the spaceship away from the space station and the crew began the flight home. A phasing burn overnight put it on its path toward Pensacola.

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31, following a successful launch on May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During their 62 days aboard station, Behnken and Hurley contributed more than 100 hours of time to supporting the orbiting laboratory’s investigations, participated in public engagement events, and supported four spacewalks with Behnken and Cassidy to install new batteries in the station’s power grid and upgrade other station hardware.

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