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Image credit: The Washington Post via Getty Images

NASA's SpaceX Crew Dragon astronauts will return to Earth on August 2nd

Next, SpaceX will begin regular flights to and from the ISS.
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL - MAY 30:  NASA commercial crew astronauts Doug Hurley (L) and Bob Behnken walk out on their way to launch from historic Launch Complex 39A aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the crew Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station.  (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two months after NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley traveled via SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS), they’ll return to Earth. NASA is planning for the SpaceX Crew Dragon to splash down in the Atlantic Ocean on August 2nd, CNBC reports. This will mark the completion of the Demo-2 mission, SpaceX’s first crewed flight and the first mission to launch NASA astronauts from US soil since 2011.

Behnken and Hurley will un-dock from the ISS around 8PM ET on August 1st, though that depends on factors like weather. Behnken and Hurley left Earth on May 30th, so in total, the mission will be about two months long.

Demo-2 was the last test SpaceX needed to pass in order to get Crew Dragon certified for operational crew flights to and from the ISS. Assuming the landing and recovery go as planned, Crew Dragon will begin a series of regular roundtrip flights. The first could happen later this year, carrying NASA and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX previously said it could send private citizens to space in late 2021 or 2022. Demo-2’s success is at least a step in that direction. And at this rate, if anyone is going to bring Tom Cruise to space to film a movie aboard the ISS, it looks like that could be SpaceX.

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