SpaceX's manned capsule will return to Earth on August 2
The two astronauts manning the SpaceX capsule that traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) in May will arrive on Earth on August 2, the director of the US Space Agency (NASA) announced Friday.
We drove on August 1 for the departure of SpaceX's Dragon Endeavor capsule from the Space Station, tweeted Jim Bridenstine.
The landing is scheduled for August 2. The exact date will depend on the weather, he added.
It will be SpaceX's first manned return to Earth. The company last year managed to bring back the empty capsule, without an incident.
Re-entry to Earth will test the resistance of the ship's heat shield, which will then slow down speed with huge parachutes, using the same method that Apollo capsules used in the 1960s and '70s.
Bob Behken and Doug Hurley left Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 30 in the SpaceX capsule, on the first manned trip to the ISS by a private company, under a contract with NASA.
It was also the first manned US space flight since 2011, when the shuttle program ended. Since then, American astronauts traveled to the ISS on Russian Soyuz rockets.
The Dragon capsule is expected to bridge the ISS by regularly transporting four astronauts from NASA and associated agencies (from Canada, Japan, Europe, and possibly Russia).
Frenchman Thomas Pesquet is currently training in the United States to travel to the ISS on a Dragon in 2021.