US astronauts prepare to return from the International Space Station | The World | DW

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The first United States astronauts to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on a US spacecraft in a decade are preparing this Saturday (08.01.2020) to return home, as long as Hurricane Isaiah allows it.

“Now will be the entry, descent and landing phase, after the decoupling we hope will happen a little later,” said Doug Hurley, one of the two astronauts, at a farewell ceremony aboard the ISS, which was broadcast by NASA TV.

Hurley and Bob Behnken took off from downtown Cape Canaveral on May 30 aboard the privately owned SpaceX Crew Dragon, and they are scheduled to land near the Florida coast this Sunday.

“The conditions are for moving forward at the first point, off the coast of Pensacola, and at the alternative point off the coast of Panama City in the Gulf of Mexico, with the landing and recovery on Sunday, August 2.” NASA assured in a publication.

Astronauts Doug Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (05/31/2020)

But the space agency closely follows the progress of Isaias, a category one hurricane, which is heading through the Caribbean toward Florida.

“NASA and SpaceX will make the final decision on whether to proceed or not, after the astronauts are already inside the Crew Dragon, just before the decoupling,” he said.

The mission was the first of a manned spacecraft launched from US soil. The last one had been in 2011 when the space shuttle program ended.

It was also the first time that a private company flew to the ISS to bring astronauts. For the past nine years, American astronauts had traveled exclusively on Russian Soyuz rockets, priced at about $ 80 million per seat.

rrr (afp/reuters)

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