Insider reports after traveling more than 27 million miles around planet Earth, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are headed home inside SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spaceship.
Despite Hurricane Isaias strafing coastal Florida with brutal weather, the two-man crew undocked their ship from the International Space Station Saturday evening, beginning the return of the first commercial astronaut mission, called Demo-2.
The crew was awoken Sunday morning by their children in a pre-recorded message.
“I’m happy you went into space but I’m even happier that you’re coming back home,” said Hurley’s 10-year-old son, Jack. “Hey, wake up! Don’t worry, you can sleep in tomorrow — hurry home so we can go get my dog. We love you, dad,” said Behnken’s 6-year-old son, Theodore.
SpaceX made history in May when it became the first company in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to launch a spaceship carrying people to the International Space Station. In doing so, Elon Musk’s rocket company also revived the United States’ ability to launch its own astronauts into space, which hadn’t been possible since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Two months later, Behnken and Hurley are attempting to return home in the same spaceship, which they’ve named Endeavour. Their journey includes a fiery return through Earth’s atmosphere, which Musk has said is the part of the journey that concerns him the most.
Below is NASA’s latest and detailed timeline of expected events:
1:48:50 p.m. ET – Maneuver to separate trunk
1:51:09 p.m. ET – Spaceship claw separation from trunk
1:51:54 p.m. ET – Trunk separation
1:52:15 p.m. ET – Burn to fly away from the trunk
1:56:45 p.m. ET – Deorbit burn
2:08:09 p.m. ET – Deorbit burn complete
2:08:10 p.m. ET – Reposition for entry communications
2:11:27 p.m. ET – Spaceship’s nosecone closed
2:32:00 p.m. ET – Maneuver to finalize the angle of reentry
2:36:10 p.m. ET – Anticipated communications blackout
2:36:33 p.m. ET – Entry through Earth’s atmosphere
2:36:40 p.m. ET – Spaceship auto-corrects entry position
2:42:17 p.m. ET – Anticipated return of communications
2:44:13 p.m. ET – Drogue parachutes deploy
2:44:20 p.m. ET – Drogue parachutes fully inflate
2:45:00 p.m. ET – Main parachutes deploy
2:48:24 p.m. ET – Splashdown near Pensacola, Fla.