National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA) has confirmed that the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, with 2 astronauts on board, will return to Earth from the International Space Station in early August. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted that the agency current plans to have the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board, undock from the ISS on Aug. 1 2020, splashing down off the Florida coast Aug. 2.
NASA has identified several splashdown locations both in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. While the prime splashdown site is notionally the one off the coast from Cape Canaveral, allowing astronauts to quickly return to the Kennedy Space Center, NASA previously stated they will pick the site that best aligns with the spacecraft’s orbit and with weather conditions on the ground.
That date confirms earlier statements by agency officials that the Demo-2 mission would end in early August, although this is the first time that NASA has provided a specific date for the splashdown. Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said in a talk at the American Astronautical Society’s Glenn Memorial Symposium July 17, shortly before Bridenstine’s tweet, that NASA was planning an “early August” end for the mission.
At a June 24 briefing, Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, said the Crew Dragon would likely undock in early August. At that time, he said the spacecraft had been performing well since its May 30 launch. Controllers were powering on systems on the spacecraft weekly for health checks, while Behnken and Hurley, along with NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, recently boarded the spacecraft to test how it accommodates four people.