Cape Canaveral, fl. – SpaceX this weekend will attempt the first American splash to turn astronauts back into darkness after the Apollo 8 moonshot in 1968.
Elon Musk’s company aims to bring back three NASA astronauts and one man from Japan early Sunday morning, when dangerous high winds shattered a couple of previous attempts.
The astronauts – the second crew to fly the SpaceX only – will depart from the International Space Station on Saturday night aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule. 6 1/2 hours later, they aim for a splash down at 3 a.m. in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida.
SpaceX sprayed a stationary cargo capsule in the dark in January. This boosts NASA’s confidence in returning home for the night, said Rob Navias, a spokesman for the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“SpaceX has done a lot of costume rehearsals and spent a lot of time with nightly restorations,” he said.
Naviyas said the time slot provided better weather conditions in the coming days.
The Apollo 8 spacecraft carrying three astronauts – the first humans to fly to the moon – crashed in the Pacific near Hawaii at dawn on December 27, 1968.
In 1976 the Russians had a group in the dark. The two-man capsule could not make it to the Soviet Union’s Saliat 5 space station and had to return urgently, ending up in a somewhat frozen lake in Kazakhstan – in the middle of a blizzard. Rescue teams took hours to rescue the astronauts.
Even in the early hours of the morning, the Coast Guard promises to carry out more patrols to keep visitors at a safe distance. One Sunday afternoon last August, the Paratroopers of Paratrooper capsule in the Gulf of Mexico assembled with the first SpaceX crew.
The departures of NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Clover and Shannon Walker and Japan’s Sochi Nokuchi will take place at Seven Space Station. Their alternatives – representing the United States, Japan and France – arrived in their own SpaceX capsule last weekend for a six-month voyage. The remaining three crew members – one American and two Russians – were launched three weeks ago in a Russian capsule from Kazakhstan.
The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Scientific Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.
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