DM-2 Crew Dragon returns to Cape Canaveral
7 August 2020

Page Two of Two
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that flew NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a two month visit to the International Space Station returned to Port Canaveral late in the afternoon of 7 August 2020. Crew Dragon splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, on 2 August 2020.

After missions to the International Space Station, Crew Dragon will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and deploy drogue parachutes, prior to unfurling the spacecraft’s four main parachutes. In a normal scenario, Crew Dragon will splash down off of Florida’s eastern coast. SpaceX’s recovery ship is equipped with a crane to lift the capsule out of the water and onto the main deck of the ship. The ship is also outfitted with a medical treatment facility and a helipad in the center of the vessel, allowing for immediate treatment and swift transport to a hospital in the unlikely event of an astronaut medical emergency after splashdown.

SpaceX’s backup splashdown location for NASA missions is in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA and SpaceX are capable of supporting seven splashdown sites off the coast of Florida for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the International Space Station as part the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

About two days prior to return, NASA and SpaceX teams will select primary and alternate splashdown target locations from the seven possible sites, with additional decision milestones about where Crew Dragon will splashdown taking place prior to the astronauts boarding the spacecraft, during free flight and before Crew Dragon performs a deorbit burn.

Teams will evaluate the forecasted weather conditions at the primary and alternate splashdown sites at each milestone to determine if the sites are “GO” or “NO-GO” for splashdown and recovery.

The seven potential splashdown sites for Demo- 2 are: Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville.

A diagram of the Crew Dragon spacecraft shows it attached to the unpressurized trunk seen here in yellow. The trunk contains solar arrays to generate electricity while in orbit and a radiator to dispel waste heat. The trunk section is jettisoned just before re-entry and burns up in the atmosphere. Only the pressurized section of Crew Dragon, seen here in white, returns to Earth to be recovered. This is the section of the spacecraft seen on Go Navigator in the images below.
Go Navigator with the re-entry charred Crew Dragon aboard are shepherded into the protected U.S. Navy submarine basin at Port Canaveral for the unloading of the spacecraft.
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