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NASA Sets Date For Astronaut Return To Earth On SpaceX Capsule

SpaceX's Crew Dragon carries Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will return to Earth August 2 after spending about two months on the International Space Station.

The duo launched from Kennedy Space Center May 30. It was the first human launch from U.S. soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011, and the first time a privately designed and developed spacecraft carried NASA astronauts.

The two took SpaceX’s Crew Dragon on its first human test flight. So far, the spacecraft has performed nominally.

Since arriving at the station, Behnken has performed a series of spacewalks to help upgrade the space station’s power system.

The safe return of Hurley and Behnken will be the last major test of the vehicle. The capsule is scheduled to undock August 1, with a splashdown in either the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico about a day later.

NASA and SpaceX are still finalizing plans for the return like picking primary and backup sites and looking at weather conditions on either side of the state.

If they do land in the Atlantic, the astronauts will stop over briefly at Kennedy Space Center before flying back to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. For splashdowns in the Gulf of Mexico, the two would head to a Gulf port before flying back to JSC.

NASA and SpaceX plan to launch another group of astronauts — three from NASA and one from the Japanese space agency — this fall from Kennedy Space Center.


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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »

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