The historic flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon is coming to its final stage on August 1 as it brings the astronauts back to Earth.
The Crew Dragon is expected to detach from the International Space Station on August 1. After that, it will take at least a day for the crew to reach back Earth. The historic SpaceX mission is expected to reach its conclusion by August 2.
However, there are a number of factors that could affect this tentative date. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted that the weather will play a crucial role in this endeavor.
A historic feat
The SpaceX Crew Dragon was a test flight to highlight the viability of commercial space flights. The mission sent two astronauts into the International Space Station. Most importantly, the mission is the first launched in America since the last Space Shuttle program in 2011.
The Crew Dragon took 19 hours to reach the International Space Station. While in the ISS, the crew monitors the overall performance of the Crew Dragon capsule. The astronauts also helped the ISS crew with some experiments while in space.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 2, 2020
The mission was slated to run between run and three months. The actual duration depends on the performance of the Crew Dragon capsule. Moreover, the mission also heavily depends on the readiness of the NASA commercial crew program.
With all boxes ticked, astronauts Dough Hurley and Robert Behnken are expected to reach back Earth by August 2. If the return journey goes as smoothly planned, the two astronauts will make a splashdown return in the Atlantic Ocean.
A new era of spaceflight
Besides being the first space launch in America for nearly a decade, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is a monumental feat. NASA administrator Bridenstine said that the mission would usher in a new era of space flight.
The Crew Dragon launch highlights the viability of commercial space flights. With this new approach, experts believe that it will open up a whole new industry of space exploration. By opening up the industry to the private industry, it will allow for more competition in the field.
Should the Crew Dragon completes its mission, it will stand as the last major test for the capsule. The completion of the mission will prove that the capsule is capable of returning humans to Earth safely.
SpaceX is expected to return to space in September. This time around, it will bring four astronauts into the International Space Station. However, this upcoming launch relies heavily on the successful return of the first Crew Dragon capsule.
Image courtesy of SpaceX/Unsplash