Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken said their final goodbyes to the International Space Station (ISS) as they boarded their Crew Dragon ship "Endeavour" and undocked from the station Saturday evening at approximately 7:34 p.m. EDT. Now they are heading for a splashdown at the Gulf of Mexico set for Sunday afternoon at 2:42 p.m. EDT.
"It's been a great two months, and we appreciate all you've done as a crew to help us prove out Dragon on its maiden flight," Hurley ?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen> to commander Chris Cassidy. "We look forward to splashdown tomorrow."
The event will mark the first splashdown for U.S. astronauts since July 2011 and the first entry, descent, and landing of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. "Endeavour" is a spaceship built and operated by SpaceX with about $2.7 billion in government funding.
The mission called Demo-2 is SpaceX's second experimental flight of the vehicle, and it is helping NASA certify SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the ISS.
The mission's descent was threatened by bad weather. Up to 6 hours before undocking, NASA continuously monitored Tropical Storm Isaias and evaluated its possible weather impact around the Florida peninsula, as well as in the potential splashdown areas in the Gulf of Mexico and along the state’s Atlantic coast.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying Hurley and Behnken launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30. It arrived at the orbital space laboratory the following day.
There, the astronauts helped conduct many space experiments and studies and brought supplies to the ISS with them. But all good things must come to an end. The astronauts eventually had to return home. We wish them a safe descent and splashdown and we will continue to update this article with details from their journey.