Will Hurricane Isaias prevent SpaceX capsule astronauts from returning to Earth? On Saturday, the first astronauts to reach the International Space Station aboard an American aircraft in almost 10 years "hoped" to be able to return to Earth this weekend as planned despite the hurricane threatening Florida. Undocking of the capsule is normally scheduled for Saturday at 11:34 pm (GMT).
A decision depending on the progress of the hurricane
"The teams are working very hard, especially given the weather conditions in Florida for the coming days, we appreciate their efforts because we know these decisions are not easy," said US astronaut Doug Hurley. "We will enter the descent and ditching phase, once we have undocked, hopefully later in the day," he added during a farewell "ceremony" to his colleagues from the ISS, broadcast live by NASA.
NASA says it is closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Isaias which, after hitting the Bahamas, is approaching Florida. The US space agency will make a decision about six hours before undocking. "The hardest part was getting us into orbit, but the most important thing is getting us home," said Bob Behnken on Saturday morning.
"The hipposaurus is coming home with your dads!"
"We say goodbye to our two friends and colleagues," said the latter, saying to himself both "sad" to see them go and "delighted" that the ISS has new ways "to bring and do leave "astronauts. Addressing his son and that of his colleague, he brandished a small colorful dinosaur, chosen by the children "for this historic mission": "The hipposaurus is coming home with your dads!", Their t he launched, surrounded by his two Russian colleagues, and the head of the mission, Captain Chris Cassidy.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley departed Cape Canaveral on May 30 in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and are scheduled to return Sunday afternoon at 2:42 p.m. local time off the coast of Florida. They became the first astronauts to be transported to the International Space Station by a private company, under contract with NASA. The flight also marked the first manned flight launched from the United States since 2011, when the space shuttles were shut down. Americans have since been traveling on Russian rockets.