Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken successfully landed on Sunday aboard the Dragon Endeavor capsule where they departed on Saturday from the International Space Station.
The first contact of American astronauts with the planet’s surface occurred on the waters off the coast of Florida (Southeast USA) at 14:48 local time (18:48 GMT) this Sunday.
The success of the operation is seen as a sign that the United States has, in return, an efficient system to put crew into orbit and achieve their return.
A quality that had not been seen since 2011, when the country gave up on continuing to use ferries.
The US space agency NASA had been planning to outsource the crew transport to the International Space Station (EEI) since the early 2000s.
Hurley and Behnken left Earth on May 30 and arrived at the International Space Station the following day.
The technicians responsible for monitoring the mission followed strict protocols for evaluating wind and wave conditions and analyzed these factors until the last moment before giving final approval for re-entry.
Given the green light, Hurley and Behnken’s capsule turned on their thrusters to start leaving orbit and descended at high speed.
45 years have passed since the last US manned capsule made a return on the ocean.
The previous time it was an Apollo vehicle that returned to the Pacific Ocean after a journey close to a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft on Earth.
As a prelude to the return, Doug Hurley said he had read the reports of that episode and explained that the astronauts could experience nausea when they swayed in the water waiting for rescue boats.
“There are bags if they are needed, and we will have them on hand,” he said Friday.
In good spirits, he said they will also have “some towels on hand too.”
“If that has to happen, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. People flying in space know that sometimes going uphill can have an effect on your system and other times downhill. in the same way “.
Astronauts took off in late May in the Crew Dragon capsule, developed by NASA and SpaceX, bound for the International Space Station.
His ascent came on a Falcon-9 rocket, also provided by SpaceX, and was seen as the start of a new era in American space flight, a landmark event.
NASA decided that it will no longer own or operate crew transport vehicles in Earth orbit, so it began purchasing this service from business partners such as Elon Musk’s company.
California-based SpaceX thus became the first provider.
Much of its technology, including parts of the Falcon-9 rocket, is reusable.
This new approach greatly reduced costs, according to NASA executive Jim Bridenstine.
“We basically established the high level criteria, the requirements, in terms of payload and security, but we are not involved in the design of everything, “he explained.
The NASA agent indicated that private companies are now called to make innovations.
“Now we are reusing these rockets, reusing the capsules, and of course we want to apply this to the Moon and eventually Mars,” the official explained.
Another detail of this expected return is that Hurley and Behnken bring back a commemorative United States flag that the crew of the last shuttle mission left on the Space Station in 1981.
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