Miami, Jul 31 (EFE) .- NASA and the aerospace company SpaceX gave the green light for astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to initiate the return to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) although they “remain vigilant to the conditions meteorological “by Hurricane Isaías.
“Like everyone else on the NASA and SpaceX team we are looking forward to the weather forecast that will be released daily right now and will even become more frequent as we get closer to landing,” Behnken said at a news conference from the ISS.
The astronauts who took off from Cape Canaveral (Florida) on May 30 and after two months will return to Earth thus ending the Demo-2 mission, which will certify the ability of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company, to perform commercial space travel.
The shuttle “Crew Dragon Endevour” will undock from the ISS this Saturday at 7:34 PM (11:34 PM GMT) and head for Earth to land off the Florida coast the next day.
Due to Hurricane Isaías, which is likely to gain in intensity and reach Category 2, different points are being evaluated for landing at sea both off the Atlantic coast of Florida and that of the Gulf of Mexico.
Behnken said that, although they are looking forward to going home, “it would not be a big problem if the trip was postponed” given the weather conditions, as they could continue to work on the ISS but he is confident “in the work the team is doing since down”.
“We are confident that the teams on the ground are observing that much more closely than we are and we will not leave the space station without good landing opportunities and good weather conditions in front of us,” added the astronaut.
Hurley agreed, noting that if the necessary conditions did not occur “the trip would be postponed to another day” without specifying the exact date, but that given the “unpredictable” characteristics of tropical systems “nothing can be done”.
“August and September are hard months to deal with hurricanes because there is usually a peak and 2020 seems to be a very active year. What we are most interested in knowing is the weather, but being a tropical system and despite all the technology we have are still very unpredictable phenomena, “said Hurley.
In 2014, NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX contracts totaling $ 6.8 billion to develop the commercial space transportation program and stop depending on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that has orbited the astronauts of the US agency since it was canceled. its ferry program in 2011.
If everything goes according to plan, SpaceX will have successfully completed commercial space travel, systems that, once certified by NASA, will be used in future missions with which the agency intends to set foot on the Moon again or reach Mars.
(c) EFE Agency