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2 August 2020, 5:51 pm

NASA Astronauts Fire Deorbiting Burn.  Watch Splashdown Back to Earth

NASA Astronauts Fire Deorbiting Burn. Watch Splashdown Back to Earth

After travelling all night to return from the International Space Station, two NASA astronauts will splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico at 11:48 PT, reports CNET. "There will be about an hour of excitement prior to that moment as Crew Dragon deorbits and re-enters Earth's atmosphere..." That 11-minute deorbiting burn should begin in five minutes (at 10:56 PT), and you can watch it live on SpaceX's YouTube channel before the splashdown 52 minutes later. CNET notes that "This will be the first crew recovery at sea of NASA astronauts since 1975 at the end of the Apollo moon exploration era, the space agency tweeted on Sunday." The reentry process is dramatic. "Crew Dragon will be traveling at orbital velocity prior to reentry, moving at approximately 17,500 miles per hour. The maximum temperature it will experience on reentry is approximately 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit," said NASA in a statement on July 24... If Crew Dragon passes these final tests, then SpaceX will be able to provide regular, operational flights to the ISS starting later this year. And it would end NASA's reliance on Russian spacecraft for the first time since the shuttle era. After splashdown the crew "will spend up to an hour floating inside the capsule before joint recovery teams from SpaceX and NASA retrieve them for a helicopter trip ashore," reports Reuters. A post-splashdown news conference is then scheduled about 30 minutes later at 1:30 p.m. PT.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.