(Washington) The first astronauts to reach the International Space Station aboard a U.S. aircraft in almost 10 years may not be able to return to Earth this weekend as planned, due to Hurricane Isaias, the U.S. said on Friday. NASA.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley departed Cape Canaveral on May 30 in a capsule Crew Dragon from SpaceX and are slated to return Sunday afternoon off the coast of Florida.
For the moment, undocking is still scheduled for 7:34 p.m. Saturday and landing at 2:42 p.m. Sunday.
But NASA says it is closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Isaias, which is approaching Florida. The US space agency says it will make a decision about six hours before undocking.
“We don’t control the weather and we know we can stay up there longer,” Behnken told reporters over the phone.
Potential ditching sites are in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast of Florida.
The astronauts said they can’t wait to get home two after two months on the mission.
“My son is six years old and I see him in the videos I receive, in the phone conversations I have with him: he has changed a lot,” Behnken said.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley 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.