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Watch live as SpaceX brings NASA astronauts back from the Space Station aboard Crew Dragon

Darrell Etherington
·1-min read
On Monday, March 30, 2020 at a SpaceX processing facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX successfully completed a fully integrated test of critical crew flight hardware ahead of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission to the International Space Station for NASA's Commercial Crew Program; the first flight test with astronauts onboard the spacecraft. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley participated in the test, which included flight suit leak checks, spacecraft sound verification, display panel and cargo bin inspections, seat hardware rotations, and more.

SpaceX and NASA are now in the final stages of preparation for the conclusion of its Demo-2 Crew Dragon mission, which will see astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley depart the International Space Station and return to Earth. Behnken and Hurley launched aboard the Crew Dragon, SpaceX's first human spacecraft, on May 30 and have been working as part of the Station's crew since then.

The Crew Dragon is set to depart from the ISS at 7:34 PM EDT (4:34 PM PDT) tonight, but NASA is planning a day of related coverage, including a live official departure ceremony that starts at 9:10 AM EDT and that involves Behnken and Hurley officially saying goodbye to their ISS crewmates before climbing into the capsule to close it up and prep for departure. The capsule is then set to make the multi-hour trip back to Earth and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean at around 2:42 PM EDT (11:42 AM PDT) tomorrow.

There are potential complicating factors to be aware of -- most notably Hurricane Isaias, which could impact the availability of suitable landing sites in the ocean, where recovery crews have to be able to safely rendezvous with the capsule to pick up Hurley and Behnken. Currently, weather is a go for the mission, but we'll provide an update if that changes.