WATCH: Astronauts prepare for rare splashdown in SpaceX capsule, target is 7:34 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 1


WATCH THE SPLASHDOWN EVENT LIVE HERE, the SpaceX video embed in this post will go live with pre-event content sometime before 7pm EDT on Saturday August 1.


NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are about to make the first splashdown return in 45 years.

“SpaceX and NASA are targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 1 for Crew Dragon and the two astronauts to depart the orbiting laboratory and return to Earth,” tweeted SpaceX late Friday evening.

From SpaceX, here is the timeline for NASA and SpaceX to return Crew Dragon Endeavour this weekend.

From the SpaceX announcement about the highly anticipated space event:

On Saturday, May 30, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon’s second demonstration (Demo-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the next day Crew Dragon autonomously docked to the International Space Station. This test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the Dragon spacecraft returned human spaceflight to the United States.

SpaceX and NASA are now targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 1 for Crew Dragon to autonomously undock from the Space Station, with the two astronauts aboard the spacecraft, and return to Earth.

Approximately 19 hours later, after jettisoning its trunk and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, Dragon will splash down at one of seven targeted water landing sites off the coast of Florida at 2:42 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 2.

The Demo-2 mission is the final major milestone for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station. Once the Demo-2 mission is complete, and the SpaceX and NASA teams have reviewed all the data for certification, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi will fly on Dragon’s first six-month operational mission (Crew-1) targeted for late September.

And don't miss the AP story about the two U.S. astronauts who are about to make the first splashdown return in 45 years. These heroes say they’ll absolutely have barf bags at hand, water landings can be nausea-inducing.

SpaceX and NASA plan to bring Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken back Sunday afternoon in the company’s Dragon capsule, aiming for the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida Panhandle. Flight controllers are keeping close watch on Hurricane Isaias, expected to stick to Florida’s east coast.

Hurley said if he and Behnken get sick while bobbing in the waves awaiting recovery, it won’t be the first time for a crew. Astronauts returning in the early 1970s from Skylab, NASA’s first space station, did not feel well following splashdown, Hurley noted. Feeling sick “is the way it is with a water landing,” he said during the crew’s final news conference from the International Space Station.

This will be SpaceX’s first splashdown with astronauts on board, ending a two-month test flight that began May 30 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center — the first launch of a crew from the U.S. in nearly a decade. The capsule has been docked at the space station since May 31, allowing Hurley and Behnken to chip in with spacewalks and experiments.

Read the rest of the piece by Marcia Dunn at AP:US astronauts pack up for rare splashdown in SpaceX capsule

IMAGE COURTESY SPACEX