Report: Boats, Including One Flying Trump Flag, Endangered SpaceX Recovery
SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship landed in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, returning NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth, Business Insider reported, but the astronauts were potentially endangered by onlookers in their boats.
- One boat drove close to the spaceship after it hit the water, according to the report, appearing on NASA’s live feed with a person waving a Trump flag.
- Driving near the spaceship posed a danger to both the astronauts and the onlookers, the report noted, citing the fact that “poisonous fumes can surround the capsule after its landing.”
- “After the recovery boat lifted the Crew Dragon out of the water, the recovery team detected one such gas — nitrous tetroxide — in the air surrounding the ship,” Insider wrote, adding that the “team had to wait for the fumes to clear before Behnken and Hurley could climb out of the capsule.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a briefing shortly after the splashdown that the crowd of boats "was not what we were anticipating."
The US Coast Guard had cleared the area ahead of the landing, Bridenstine said, but after the capsule splashed down, "the boats just made a beeline for it," he said. "We need to do a better job next time for sure."
Behnken and Hurley were launched toward the International Space Station on May 30, where they stayed for two months before making the risky trip home to Earth.