SpaceX: Are landings on water from space safe?

The return of the free-falling environment from orbit to the normal forces of gravity on Earth is often confusing for astronauts. A wat...


The return of the free-falling environment from orbit to the normal forces of gravity on Earth is often confusing for astronauts. A water landing adds the possibility of seasickness.

At a press conference in 2020, Doug Hurley, who made NASA’s maiden voyage in the Crew Dragon capsule, said he read some of the reports from Skylab astronauts.

“There were some challenges after the water landing,” he said. “People weren’t feeling good, and you know, that’s the way it is with a water landing, even if you’re not deconditioned like we’re going to be.”

Mr. Hurley acknowledged that the vomiting would not be unexpected.

“There are bags if you need them, and we’ll have them on hand,” he said. “We’ll probably have towels on hand as well. And you know, if that were to happen, it sure wouldn’t be the first time this has happened in a space vehicle. “

But shortly after the splash, he asked SpaceX’s mission controllers to tell the on-board surgeons who were monitoring their health that “we’ve been doing pretty well so far.”

The crew will also be back a few minutes before sunset on Saturday. SpaceX’s last astronaut collapses in may happened in the dark, and it was the first night landing for astronauts since 1968.

Steve Stich, director of NASA’s Commercial Crew program, said that consistently calm night time at the landing site, ample moonlight and other factors made a dark landing advantageous.

“When we weighed all of these options, it seemed like the best time to come home,” he told NASA TV earlier in the year.

Another advantage of an overnight disembarkation could be that fewer private boats are likely to be present. It was a problem in August 2020 when the first manned SpaceX capsule splashed. More than a dozen boats – including one sporting a Trump campaign flag – converged on the scorched capsule, and a few went to take a closer look.

The episode raised concerns among officials at NASA and SpaceX about safety and security procedures. If there had been an emergency, NASA officials said, private boats could have hampered recovery efforts. They added that there could have been toxic fumes coming from the capsule which posed a risk to boaters.

With that concern in mind in May, the Coast Guard set up an 11.5 mile security zone around the ditching site to hunt down any intruders.

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Newsrust - US Top News: SpaceX: Are landings on water from space safe?
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