After a successful SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday afternoon, several private boats, including one carrying a Trump campaign flag, trapped the spacecraft while tossing it into the water.
“That was not what we had expected. Of course, we wanted to make sure they had permission to land and that the Coast Guard did an excellent job of ensuring that, and then of course after the boats landed just came and NASA Postal Director Jim Pridenstein told reporters during a conference call over the phone and we need to Do better next time for sure.
The historic mission, the first time that American astronauts have traveled to space from American soil since the shuttle program retired in 2011, marked the first imbalance in the ocean in 45 years since the Apollo-Soyuz program.
When the recovery teams went to get Behnken, Hurley and the spacecraft safely aboard the Go Navigator recovery ship from SpaceX, private boats invaded the area, blocking the SpaceX teams.
“I will tell you it is a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of boats and they are definitely fascinated. I think all of America was very eager to see the capsule in the water, but yes, this is something we need. Bredenstein said,” I do better next time. “
The presence of unauthorized boats in the safety zone of the machine gun area is not only dangerous for astronauts and recovery teams, but also a threat to the boats themselves since the spacecraft have been fueled by the poisonous propellant used in space.
“We have invited everyone to join us online and participate at the moment … but you definitely know that getting close to the spacecraft is not among these methods,” said Pridenstein.
Predenstein said that NASA had Coast Guard cutters cleared the area during the actual spraying event, but as soon as the spacecraft was in the water, “the boats just launched a direct line.”
Gwen Shotwell, chief operating officer of SpaceX in the future, said more coast guard assets, as well as SpaceX and NASA assets, would be necessary to ensure there were no offspring.
“Our crews that we deployed there were focused on making sure Bob and Doug boarded the boat and got off the capsule safely. Their mission was not really to monitor the area. We had the Coast Guard there for that.” Shotwell said.
“The important thing is that Bob and Doug safely arrived on the boat. We managed to keep the area free to land, then we ask people to come back because they got very little close to the Dragon capsule, which they did.” I continued. “This was a demonstration mission, this is the time you go to learn about these things, and we will definitely be better prepared next time.