NASA to Provide Coverage of Astronauts’ Return from Space Station on SpaceX Crew Dragon

The International Space Station’s two newest crew members, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley, are pictured having just entered the orbiting lab shortly after arriving aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage of activities leading up to, during, and following the return of the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with the agency’s astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station.

The duo arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31, following a successful launch on May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 7:34 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 1, for undocking of the Dragon “Endeavour” spacecraft from the space station and 2:42 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, for splashdown, which will be the first return of a commercially built and operated American spacecraft carrying astronauts from the space station.

Coverage on NASA TV and the agency’s website will begin at 9:10 a.m., Aug. 1, with a short farewell ceremony on station and resume at 5:15 p.m., with departure preparations through splashdown and recovery at one of seven targeted water landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 return coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Wednesday, July 29

  • Approximately 6 p.m. (or one hour after Return Flight Readiness Review completion) – Return Flight Readiness Review briefing at Johnson, with the following participants:
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine 
    • Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
    • Joel Montalbano, manager, NASA’s International Space Station Program
    • Benji Reed, director, crew mission management, SpaceX

Friday, July 31

  • 10:45 a.m. – Crew News Conference from the International Space Station, with the following participants:
    • NASA astronaut Bob Behnken
    • NASA astronaut Doug Hurley
    • NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy

Saturday, Aug. 1

  • 9:10 a.m. – SpaceX Dragon Demo-2 Farewell Ceremony aboard the International Space Station (ceremony begins about 9:15 a.m.)
  • 5:15 p.m. – NASA TV undocking coverage begins for the 7:34 p.m. undocking (NASA Television will have continuous coverage from undocking to splashdown)

Sunday, Aug. 2

  • 2:42 p.m. – Splashdown
  • 5 p.m. – Administrator post-splashdown news conference at Johnson, with the following representatives:
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • Commercial Crew Program representative
    • International Space Station representative
    • SpaceX representative
    • NASA Astronaut Office representative

Tuesday, Aug. 4

  • 4:30 p.m. – Demo-2 Crew News Conference from the Johnson Space Center, with the following participants
    • NASA astronaut Bob Behnken
    • NASA astronaut Doug Hurley

These activities are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which has been working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. 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. 

The test flight also is helping NASA certify SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX is readying the hardware for the first rotational mission, which would occur following NASA certification.

The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including helping us prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

For more information about splashdown locations, weather criteria and recovery logistics, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/top-10-things-to-know-for-nasa-s-spacex-demo-2-return

For full mission coverage, NASA’s commercial crew blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew