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How to watch Crew Dragon’s NASA astronauts leave International Space Station

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ASTRONAUTS on SpaceX are set return to Earth this weekend after they were sent to the International Space Station in May.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley made history when they became the first to be sent by Elon Musk’s private company to the ISS. Here’s how you can watch their journey.

Follow our Nasa Mars launch live blog for the latest updates

The SpaceX rocket pictured just before it launched into space

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The SpaceX rocket pictured just before it launched into space
Astronauts in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule

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Astronauts in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsuleCredit: AP:Associated Press

What time will Crew Dragon’s NASA astronauts return to earth?

NASA hopes to land the astronauts on the evening of Sunday August 2.

However, the space agency is having to keep an eye on the weather as a tropical storm may affect the plans.

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted: “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.”

The astronauts should undock from the ISS around 7.30pm EDT on August 1 (or 12:30am for those in the UK).

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

Their capsule is intended to thrust itself back down before re-entry and splash into the Atlantic ocean after blazing through the atmosphere.

The astronauts will then be met by boats in the Atlantic Ocean.

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How can you watch?

You can watch the whole event unfold live on SpaceX.com or Nasa.gov.

On Saturday August 1 at 5:15pm (or 10:15pm in the UK) continuous coverage begins for the SpaceX Crew Dragon DM-2 undocking from the International Space Station.

On Sunday August 2 the hatch closure is scheduled for approximately 5:45pm EDT (or 10:45pm in the UK)

Undocking is scheduled for 7:34 pm EDT (or 12:34am in the UK).

Splashdown is set for 2:42pm EDT (or 7:42pm in the UK).

MISSION TIMELINE

All Times Are Approximate

AUGUST 1

5:45 pm EDT/ 10:45pm in UK

Dragon hatch closure

7:34 pm EDT / 12:34am in UK

Dragon autonomously undocks from the International Space StatioN

7:35 pm EDT / 12:35am in UK

Departure burn 0

7:40 pm EDT / 12:40am in UK

Departure burn 1

8:25 pm EDT / 01:25am in UK

Departure burn 2

9:15 pm EDT – 02:15am in UK

Departure burn 3

AUGUST 2

1:46 pm EDT / 6:46pm in UK

Trunk jettison

1:51 pm EDT / 6:51pm in UK

Deorbit burn

2:42 pm EDT / 7:42pm in UK

Dragon splashdown

Who are the astronauts?

American space heroes Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, fired into orbit on May 30 aboard a spaceship built by California rocket firm SpaceX.

The pair took part in extensive training ahead of the historic mission and have plenty of spaceflight experience.

Born in St. Anne, Missouri, Behnken previously worked for the US Air Force before joining Nasa.

“Behnken will be the joint operations commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station,” Nasa said.

“He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2000 and has completed two space shuttle flights.”

Fellow crewman Hurley was born in New York and was previously a fighter pilot for the US Marine Corps.

“Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery,” Nasa said.

“He was selected as an astronaut in 2000 and has completed two spaceflights.”

Nasa astronauts Robert Behnken (left) and Douglas Hurley

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Nasa astronauts Robert Behnken (left) and Douglas HurleyCredit: EPA

What is SpaceX?

Here’s what you need to know…

SpaceX was founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk who still has part ownership of the company with 54 per cent equity and 78 per cent voting control.

SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer that is based in California.

It was founded in 2002 with the goal to build affordable rockets and enable the colonisation of Mars.

The manufacturer also aimed to reduce space transportation costs.

Since its creation, the firm has gained fame primarily as a pioneering rocket firm.

In 2008 it launched the first privately-funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit and later became the first private company to launch an object into orbit around the sun.

The company has grown dramatically over its lifespan, from 160 employees in November 2005 to around 7,000 as of November 2019.

As of March 2018, SpaceX had over 100 launches on its manifest representing about $12billion (£9.24billion) in contract revenue.

SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft returns to Earth from the ISS with a splash

 





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