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Update: NASA and SpaceX have decided to move the undocking and landing of Crew-1 from Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1, respectively, following a review of the forecast weather conditions in the overflow areas at off the coast of Florida. The teams will meet on Friday to determine a new start window.
After examining the weather conditions, NASA and SpaceX decided to push back the astronaut splash aboard the Dragon capsule until Saturday morning.
The teams are now aiming for a return to Earth at 11:36 a.m. on Saturday, May 1 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
The Dragon spacecraft, named Resilience, is scheduled to detach from the International Space Station at 5:55 p.m. Friday to begin the return journey with astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.
The starting and emergency zones will be determined the day before undocking. Any late change could occur within six hours of undocking depending on several factors such as the weather in the screening area.
The Coast Guard will impose restrictions on boaters and establish a 10 nautical mile safety zone around the location for the watering to ensure safety. Spectators on earth will not be able to see the spaceship splashing into the ocean.
When an earlier Crew Dragon capsule splashed in the Gulf last year – the first such landing since the Apollo era – dozens of pleasure craft swarmed the area.
But getting so close to the capsule is very risky.
Speaking from the space station, Commander Hopkins explained that the hypergolic fuel used to power the Dragon’s thrusters could be dangerous.
“If there is a leak, we are generally well in the capsule, but it is the people in the boats who could be really the most at risk,” he warned. “It is very important for them to stay at a safe distance.”
Once the astronauts exit the capsule, they will travel to an airstrip by helicopter and board a NASA plane to return to Houston.
Next Space Coast launch
Also on Tuesday, SpaceX confirmed that it will push its next launch of the Starlink constellation from the Cape Canaveral space station by approximately 24 hours.
The launch of 60 of the satellites broadcasting on the Internet from Launch Complex 40 is now scheduled for Wednesday at 11:44 p.m. at the earliest, opening an instant window. Weather conditions should be about 80% “go” for take-off.
Approximately eight minutes after takeoff, the first stage of the previously piloted Falcon 9 rocket will target a landing on the Just read the instructions drone ship.
For the latest news, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.
Contact Rachael Joy at 321-242-3577. Follow her on Twitter @Rachael_Joy.
Launch on Wednesday April 28
- Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
- Mission: launch of the 25th Starlink constellation
- Launch time: 11:44 a.m.
- Launch window: instant
- Launch Complex: 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
- Landing: Just read the instructions drone ship
- Weather: 80% “go”
Visit floridatoday.com/space at 11 p.m. Tuesday for live video and updates.