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Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Two NASA astronauts are back on Earth after their space capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Fla.

The last time any NASA astronauts came home by splashing down was in 1975 — and back then, they were in an Apollo space vehicle. This time, the astronauts were in a white, bell-shaped capsule owned by SpaceX.

Capsule with parachutes lands in the ocean
SpaceX

NASA’s Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will return to Earth Sunday after a two-month stay on the International Space Station. The capsule will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola.

Behnken and Hurley’s capsule named Endeavour undocked from the station Saturday evening. The two spent some time adjusting the orbit of the capsule for reentry and even got some sleep overnight. To wake them, NASA played an audio message from the astronauts’ sons.

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday

The two astronauts that blasted off in the first private space vehicle to take people to the International Space Station are about to return to Earth — by splashing down in the waters around Florida.

This will be the first planned splashdown for space travelers since 1975, although a Russian Soyuz capsule did have to do an emergency lake landing in 1976.

Tropical Storm May Delay 1st SpaceX Crew’s Return To Earth

Jul 30, 2020

Tropical weather barreling toward Florida could delay this weekend’s planned return of the first SpaceX crew.

On Wednesday, SpaceX and NASA cleared the Dragon crew capsule to depart the International Space Station and head home after a two-month flight.

Because NASA test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will aim for the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico just off Florida’s coast, the wind and waves must be relatively calm. It would be the first astronaut splashdown in 45 years

NASA

When astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken launched from Kennedy Space Center last month, NASA and SpaceX made history. It was the first human launch from the U.S. since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 — and the public-private partnership did it in the middle of a global pandemic.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

NASA astronauts are heading to space from U.S. soil for the first time in nine years, aboard SpaceX's Dragon capsule, the maiden crewed flight of the innovative spacecraft.

The mission, which is sending Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station, is a bold new venture for the space agency's plan to allow commercial companies to take its astronauts into low-Earth orbit.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the launch tower
SpaceX

SpaceX will try once again to launch two NASA astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center Saturday but weather could delay the launch once more.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

NASA and SpaceX were ready to launch a pair of astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly nine years on Wednesday, but the weather had other ideas.

When NASA astronauts launch from the Kennedy Space Center, it will be the first time humans have blasted off from the U.S. since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

The pilot of that final shuttle mission was Doug Hurley, and he's aboard again Wednesday, ready to make history with the launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule.

Almost 40 years have passed since the last time NASA astronauts blasted off into space on a brand new spaceship.

Now, as NASA looks forward to Wednesday's planned test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon with a pair of astronauts on board, some in the spaceflight community have a little bit of déjà vu.

Falcon 9 on launch pad
SpaceX

NASA said SpaceX is GO for launch Wednesday. The private company will attempt to launch two NASA astronauts from Kennedy Space Center — a first from the U.S. since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

This week, NASA and the commercial company SpaceX are set to launch two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in a new capsule. This is the first launch by NASA of astronauts from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, but it's happening in the middle of a pandemic.

Here are some of the ways that the coronavirus will, and won't, change the plans for the space agency's latest launch.

Astronauts have been quarantining since before it was cool.

SpaceX rocket lifts off
NASA

The White House says President Donald Trump will be on the Florida coast Wednesday to watch American astronauts blast into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center.

SPACEX

Two NASA astronauts are ready to launch to the International Space Station later this month from Kennedy Space Center. It will be the first human launch from the U.S. since 2011.

SpaceX Successfully Lands 50th Rocket In 5 Years

Mar 7, 2020

SpaceX launched another cargo mission to the International Space Station Friday, successfully landing the flight's rocket booster for the 50th time in the last five years, the Associated Press reported.

The space capsule that will likely carry the first astronauts to the International Space Station from the U.S. since 2011 has arrived in Florida ahead of a planned flight as early as this spring.

NASA is working with private companies SpaceX and Boeing to launch astronauts to the station. Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has relied solely on the Russian space agency Roscosmos for rides to the station on its Soyuz capsule.

From a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its latest rocket test into the Florida sky. Less than two minutes later, it exploded — just like the company hoped it would.

The explosion itself wasn't so much the success as was what came just before it. That's when the Crew Dragon, a capsule meant to carry astronauts into space, separated from the rocket. That separation was the goal of Sunday's test.

SpaceX has completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as two months.

SpaceX has launched 60 more mini internet satellites, this time testing a dark coating to appease stargazers.

SpaceX has made an early holiday delivery to the International Space Station.

Around 5,700 pounds of supplies are on the way to the International Space Station after launching from Cape Canaveral Thursday. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched a cargo capsule packed with supplies and science experiments to the station.

SpaceX successfully launched 60 communications satellites on Monday using a single rocket.

It's the second time in less than a year that Elon Musk's company has made such a launch, marking a dramatic increase in the number of satellites in orbit.

Thursday's launch of the United Launch Alliance communications satellite lit up the sky over Northdale.
JULIO OCHOA / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

As rocket launches go, Thursday’s deployment of a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral was nothing too unusual.

Rendering of SpaceX's Starship separating from the Super Heavy booster.
SPACEX

SpaceX will launch and land its newest space vehicle Starship at Kennedy Space Center, according to a new environmental assessment filed by the private company.

The launch system is made up of two parts: the 31-engine booster called Super Heavy and Starship — a cylindrical, futuristic looking vehicle that can carry payloads and possibly humans to places like the moon or Mars.

All together, the system will stand about 387 feet tall. SpaceX said it will modify Launch Complex 39-A to support both the launch and landing of the new system.

Sonic Booms Across Central Florida After SpaceX Launch, Landing

Jul 26, 2019
SpaceX's CRS-18 mission launches from Cape Canaveral.
SPACEX

Sonic booms rattled much of Central Florida after a successful SpaceX launch and landing Thursday. The launch from Cape Canaveral comes after a 24 hour delay due to weather.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched a Dragon capsule packed with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station.

Along with crew supplies, the spacecraft is delivering science experiments and a new docking adapter for the station. Once installed, it will allow more space vehicles to park at the space station.

SpaceX Launches Hefty Rocket With 24 Satellites

Jun 25, 2019
Launch of the Falcon Heavy Demo Mission in February 2018.
Official Space X Photos / Flickr

SpaceX launched its heftiest rocket with 24 research satellites Tuesday, a middle-of-the-night rideshare featuring a deep space atomic clock, solar sail, a clean and green rocket fuel testbed, and even human ashes. 

Humans have entered SpaceX's Crew Dragon while in orbit for the first time, just hours after the commercial spacecraft docked at the International Space Station on Sunday morning.

Crew Capsule Rockets Toward Space Station With Test Dummy

Mar 3, 2019
NASA

America's newest capsule for astronauts rocketed Saturday toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX.

As a partial government shutdown continues into its third week, NASA announced the delay of a test flight of SpaceX’s Commercial Crew capsule. The private company is assessing any impacts the partial government shutdown might have on upcoming launches.

Next U.S. Moon Landing Will Be By Private Companies, Not NASA

Nov 30, 2018
NASA

America's next moon landing will be made by private companies — not NASA.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Thursday that nine U.S. companies will compete to deliver experiments to the lunar surface. The space agency will buy the service and let private industry work out the details on getting there, he said.

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