CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami/AP) — More patrols, fewer boaters. That’s the message from NASA and SpaceX for this weekend’s splashdown.
Saturday will mark SpaceX’s second return of a crew. The trip home for the four astronauts was delayed from Wednesday because of high winds forecast for the area.READ MORE: Flight Attendant Attacked By Passenger, Flight From New York's JFK To John Wayne Airport Diverts To Denver
Last August, pleasure boaters swarmed the Dragon capsule carrying two astronauts. NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins said everyone is putting “a lot of emphasis” on keeping the area clear this time.
“I don’t think any of us are too worried in terms of landing on a boat,” he said during a news conference Monday from the International Space Station.
Leaking fuel from the capsule’s thrusters could endanger people outside the capsule. A crowd could also hamper SpaceX’s recovery effort.READ MORE: Investigation Underway Following 'Running Gunfight' Between Two Cars And Shots Fired At Officer In North Miami Beach
Hopkins is winding up a six-month mission, along with U.S. crewmates Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi. Their replacements arrived Saturday on their own SpaceX capsule.
When Hopkins and his crew launched last November, they hoped to return to a world where COVID-19 held less of a grip than it does. They will go into semi-quarantine for a while, Walker said, to give their space-weakened immune systems time to bounce back.
They’ll roll up their sleeves for their first vaccine shot seven to 10 days after splashdown.
“We definitely have enjoyed not wearing masks up here,” Walker said. “And having to go back and wear masks — well, it’s what we will do because that is the right thing to do.”MORE NEWS: Cold Front Marching Into South Florida With Strong Storms
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