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NASA-SpaceX mission: Astronauts prep for splashdown from historic mission, despite tropical storm

August 2, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft — carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley — is slowly maneuvering closer to Earth and preparing for a splashdown later today in the Gulf of Mexico.

New York (CNN Business)SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft — carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley — is slowly maneuvering closer to Earth and preparing for a splashdown later today in the Gulf of Mexico.

Behnken and Hurley's safe homecoming will mark the end to an historic two-month mission and pave the way for the US to once again become a world leader in human spaceflight.

The astronauts have been aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Dragon Endeavour, since Saturday evening when it undocked from the International Space Station.

Behnken and Hurley began their historic two-month trip to the ISS in May, when the astronauts launched inside their Crew Dragon spacecraft from a ground pad in Florida.

It was the first NASA astronaut launch from US soil since 2011 and the first time in history that a commercially developed spacecraft carried humans into orbit.

Behnken and Hurley — both married to fellow NASA astronauts —have young families waiting at home for them.

Though SpaceX previously launched a Crew Dragon on an uncrewed demonstration mission, Hurley and Behnken's mission is still considered a test.

Both men are veteran NASA astronauts and test pilots specifically trained to respond to any technical issues that may arise on the new vehicle, and NASA won't officially certify Crew Dragon as a human-rated spacecraft until it makes a safe return.

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