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Astronauts set for ocean splashdown

August 2, 2020 1:27 pm
Bob Behnken (L) and Doug Hurley (R) launched to the space station at the end of May. [Source: BBC]

US astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have undocked their Dragon Endeavour capsule from the space station to begin their return to Earth.

The pair are expected to splash down off the coast of Florida just after 14:40 local time (19:40 BST) on Sunday.

A successful landing would mean America once again has a fully serviceable, fully certified means of getting its own people into orbit and back.

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This capability was lost when the country retired its shuttles in 2011.

The US space agency Nasa and its commercial partner, SpaceX, have chosen a splashdown location well away from Hurricane Isaias, which looks as though it will track up the eastern coast of Florida.

Waiting recovery vessels are therefore being directed to the Gulf of Mexico, to waters off Pensacola and Panama City, in western Florida.

Mission controllers are following strict guidelines on permissible wind and wave conditions and will study the latest forecasts before giving a final “go” for re-entry.

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