Spaceflight Insider

Weather being watched ahead of Demo-2 return

Weather models show Hurricane Isaias’ system track approaching the Florida coast at the approximate same time as SpaceX and NASA are planning the return and splashdown of the Demo-2 Crew Dragon capsule.

SpaceX and NASA, in preparation for the upcoming undocking of the DEMO-2 Crew Dragon from the International Space Station, are continuing to monitor weather patterns in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

After a review of the latest forecast for the waters off the coast of Florida, and taking into account the seven possible splashdown locations, it has been decided to proceed with plans to bring astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley back to earth aboard the SpaceX Endeavor Crew Dragon this weekend, currently targeting for the departure to occur at 7:34 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 1, with splashdown estimated at 2:42 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 2.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, standing in front of LC-39A and their Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center, launched to the ISS on May 30, 2020. Photo credit: NASA

The return of the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry crew to the ISS will conclude the DEMO-2 test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The American astronauts launched on the groundbreaking test mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30th, part of the final test sequence for the crew transportation capsule. They arrived at the International Space Station the next day and have performed various vehicle checkout experiments and tests along with performing additional science experiments during their sixty plus day stay at the Station.

Upon successful reentry and recovery, the capsule will have completed the certifications needed to have the Crew Dragon approved to support regular flights to and from the orbiting laboratory by future astronauts. The first such mission, Crew-1, has been nominally scheduled for late September of 2020.

NASA and SpaceX will select primary and secondary splashdown and recovery locations two days prior to the return date of Aug 2 from the seven possibilities. At that time, weather conditions will be further evaluated to determine “GO or “NO-GO” for movement of the spacecraft. The seven potential splashdown locations are off a mix of both eastern and western Florida coastal communities, namely Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley, left, and Bob Behnken rehearse crew extraction from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which will be used to carry humans to the International Space Station, on August 13, 2019 at the Trident Basin in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls


Theresa Cross grew up on the Space Coast. It’s only natural that she would develop a passion for anything “Space” and its exploration. During these formative years, she also discovered that she possessed a talent and love for defining the unique quirks and intricacies that exist in mankind, nature, and machines. Hailing from a family of photographers—including her father and her son, Theresa herself started documenting her world through pictures at a very early age. As an adult, she now exhibits an innate photographic ability to combine what appeals to her heart and her love of technology to deliver a diversified approach to her work and artistic presentations. Theresa has a background in water chemistry, fluid dynamics, and industrial utility.

Reader Comments


I frankly think they should wait a day or two, just to be safe. Hurricanes are serious business. I remember how they had to move the splashdown zone of Apollo 7 back in 1968, because of a hurricane in the vicinity.

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