NASA astronauts face the final and most important stage of their SpaceX test flight, which is returning to Earth with a rare landing on the water.
The two astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Banken participated in a farewell party, on Saturday, at the International Space Station, hours before their scheduled departure on SpaceX's "Dragon" spacecraft.
Although Hurricane Isaias is approaching, NASA said the weather appeared to be favorable in the afternoon, Sunday, in the Gulf of Mexico near Panama City, Florida.
This will be the first waterfall for astronauts in 45 years, the last time it followed the 1975 US-Soviet joint mission known as Apollo-Soyuz.
The astronauts ’return home from the two-month mission would end the prolonged shortage of US launches that relied on Russian missiles to transport astronauts to the international station since the end of the shuttle era.
With the launch of Hurley and Pinkin from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on May 30, SpaceX became the first private company to send people into space, and is now about to become the first company to bring people back from space.
"The hardest part was launching us, but the most important thing is to bring us back home," said Pinkin, adding that the successful landing of the spacecraft would bring American integration capability fully.
The space station commander, Chris Cassidy, who will stay on board the station with two OCI astronauts until October, presented to Hurley the small American flag, which was left by former astronauts to launch to the Space Station from US soil, in July 2011. Hurley was commander of that shuttle's final mission.
The science, which also boarded the first shuttle flight in 1981, became a prize for the company that launched the astronauts first.
The SpaceX owned by Elon Musk easily outperformed Boeing, which is not expected to launch its first crew until next year, and the flag will accompany another crew to the moon this time in NASA's Artemis program in the next few years.