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NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 to return to earth, Gulf of Mexico targeted for Splashdown

After a successful launch and stay at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are gearing up for a splashdown off the west coast of Florida.
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 to return to earth, Gulf of Mexico targeted for Splashdown

After a successful launch and stay at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are gearing up for a splashdown off the west coast of Florida.

Following a scheduled assessment of weather conditions for splashdown, teams from NASA and SpaceX say that the conditions are a "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 on Sunday, August 2.

NASA Chief Jim Birdenstine tweeted: "@NASA and @SpaceX are targeting Pensacola as the primary return location for Crew Dragon w/@Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken from the @Space_Station. We are targeting undocking at 7:34 p.m. EDT today."

However, NASA added that the teams will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Isaias and evaluate impacts to the potential splashdown sites.

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 accepted criteria, a joint recommendation by SpaceX and NASA will be made whether to proceed with undocking at 7:34 p.m. EDT. NASA and SpaceX will make the final decision to proceed after the astronauts are ready inside Crew Dragon just before undocking.

Live coverage of NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 return will begin at 5:15 p.m. and continue through the targeted splashdown at 2:41 p.m. on Sunday, the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the space station. It will wrap up NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 test flight after more than two months at the International Space Station.

Hurley and Behnken arrived at the orbiting laboratory in the Crew Dragon 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.

( With inputs from ANI )

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