Lecture : 2 minutes
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 Hurricane Isaias threatening Florida.
“We will enter the descent and landing phase, once we have undocked, hopefully later in the day,” said US astronaut Doug Hurley in a farewell “ceremony”. colleagues from the ISS, broadcast live by NASA.
“The teams are working very hard, especially given the weather conditions in Florida for the next few days, we appreciate their efforts because we know these decisions are not easy,” he added.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley departed Cape Canaveral on May 30 in a SpaceX-based Crew Dragon capsule created by eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk and are expected to return this Sunday afternoon off the coast of Florida.
The closed hatch
For now, undocking is still scheduled for 7:34 p.m. (11:34 p.m. GMT) on Saturday, about two hours after the capsule hatch closes, which will mark the start of their journey.
Precisely, the hatch of the SpaceX capsule was closed on Saturday for the return to Earth. “Crew Dragon’s hatch is sealed for his departure,” the US space agency tweeted. The shuttle, which brings back Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, must now be depressurized.
The arrival in the ocean remains scheduled at 2:41 p.m. (6:41 p.m. GMT) this Sunday. A site in the Gulf of Mexico, off the city of Pensacola (north of Florida) has been selected as “priority” for the landing, with an alternative in front of Panama City, said the boss of NASA , Jim Bridenstine.