By: EMILY SHAPIRO, GINA SUNSERI and CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(PENSACOLA, Fla.) — The first NASA-SpaceX astronauts are en route back to Earth, with the Crew Dragon capsule expected to splashdown near Pensacola, Florida, at 2:48 p.m. ET.
The weather conditions appear “great” for the splashdown, tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Crew Dragon Endeavour’s deorbit burn began at 1:56 p.m. and was completed at about 2:13 p.m. ET. As the capsule nears Earth, there will be a communications blackout lasting about six minutes.
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who left Earth on May 30, undocked from the International Space Station at about 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Stakes are high as the astronauts only have 48 hours of oxygen in their capsule after undocking.
A recovery boat with several dozen crew members, including NASA flight surgeons, is waiting in the Gulf of Mexico.
Once the astronauts reach the port in Pensacola, they will board the NASA Gulfstream and head to Houston for a ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base.
Behnken said Friday he was most excited to see his family and his 6-year-old son, saying, “He’s changed a lot in the couple of months that we’ve been up here.”
On Sunday morning Hurley and Behnken woke up to a message from their children who were all excited for their return.
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