The first USA astronauts to reach the International Space Station on an American spacecraft in almost a decade might not come home this weekend as scheduled because of Hurricane Isaias, NASA said Friday.
The current plan is for the Dragon "Endeavour" capsule to undock from the International Space Station on Saturday at 7:34 p.m. ET, with scheduled splashdown at 2:42 p.m. ET on Sunday.
The two said during a press conference from space Friday that they enjoyed their time on the space station, especially Behnken's four spacewalks with fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy, who will remain there.
The astronauts anticipate they might become seasick and nauseated after they land in the water, probably the Gulf of Mexico, Hurley said. "There's more chow, and I know the space station program's got more work that we can do for the folks that have sent science up here to the space station".
It will be NASA's first ocean splashdown in 45 years and the first piloted re-entry of a Crew Dragon capsule.
The astronauts were lifted off to the International Space Station on May 30 at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre - the first launch of a crew from the U.S. in almost a decade. Completion of the test flight will also be a big accomplishment for SpaceX and the entire commercial spaceflight industry.
Stich said Crew Dragon, an acorn-shaped pod that can seat up to seven astronauts, has been in a "very healthy" condition since docking on May 31 to the space station, where astronauts have been conducting tests and monitoring how the spacecraft performs over time in space.
So far, NASA is proceeding with their landing preparations, but Behnken said that he and Hurley have been working with flight directors on the ground and following the weather forecasts.
After the spacecraft splashes down, a recovery ship with more than 40 NASA and SpaceX personnel onboard will rendezvous with the capsule and hoist it out of the water and onto the ship's main deck.
He said the astronauts could always stay on the space station longer.
"As you can imagine, even if you made a decision to go deep sea fishing one day, and you've lived on Earth your whole life, people get seasick". NASA has about a half dozen splashdown sites along the Florida coast - each with certain weather criteria.
After the space shuttle and Russian Soyuz, Dragon is the third type of crewed vehicle to dock at the space station.
If successful, the return will be a major milestone for human spaceflight, marking the first time that NASA astronauts have traveled to and from space aboard a commercially built spacecraft. This Crew-2 flight, due to launch no earlier than spring 2021, will reuse the Falcon 9 first stage from the Crew-1 mission, and the Dragon capsule is expected to splash down this weekend.
Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, have been astronauts since their selection in 2000.
"And of course, I'll have a lot of tips for her", he said.