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SpaceX and NASA’s Crew Dragon set to return to Earth on August 1

NASA and SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission now has an end date.

NASA is planning for the Crew Dragon and its passengers to depart from the International Space Station (ISS) on August 1, according to a tweet by administrator Jim Bridenstine, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley set to splashdown on August 2 after two months spent on the space station.

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NEWS: We're targeting an Aug. 1 departure of @SpaceX's Dragon Endeavour spacecraft from the @Space_Station to bring @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug home after their historic #LaunchAmerica mission. Splashdown is targeted for Aug. 2. Weather will drive the actual date. Stay tuned.

— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) July 17, 2020

These dates will be dependent on the weather and could change in the future.

The crewed test flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule was the first time that American astronauts had launched from American soil since the shuttering of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. The two NASA astronauts made it to the ISS smoothly in a problem-free 19-hour trip. While onboard, they have been monitoring the performance of the Crew Dragon capsule and assisting the other ISS astronauts with science experiments.

The mission was scheduled to last between one and three months, depending on the readiness of NASA’s commercial crew program and also the performance of the Crew Dragon. With everyone apparently satisfied that the required tests have been performed, Behnken and Hurley can return to Earth where they will splash down in the Atlantic Ocean, just off the Florida coast.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Dou Hurley (right) aboard the International Space Station
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Dou Hurley (right) aboard the International Space Station NASA

On the day of the launch, Bridenstine described the mission as  “a new era in human spaceflight,” adding that, “The launch of this commercial space system designed for humans is a phenomenal demonstration of American excellence and is an important step on our path to expand human exploration to the moon and Mars.”

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