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The Crew Dragon spacecraft as it leaves the International Space Station. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are heading back to Earth from the International Space Station aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Why it matters: Behnken and Hurley's return will mark the end of SpaceX's first crewed mission to the station and the first mission in which American astronauts launched from U.S. soil in nine years.

Details: Hurley and Behnken undocked from the space station about 7:35 p.m. ET on Saturday. If all goes according to plan, the two astronauts should be back on Earth tomorrow.

  • The Crew Dragon is expected to splash down off the Florida coast on Sunday at 2:42 p.m. ET.

Between the lines: Coming back home from space is always a pretty intense experience, but Behnken and Hurley are prepared for it.

  • Both are veteran astronauts who flew missions aboard the space shuttle.
  • And just in case they feel a little queasy while reentering the atmosphere and coming down for a landing, the Crew Dragon comes equipped with bags and towels.
  • "It wouldn't be the first time that that's happened in a space vehicle," Hurley said during a press briefing ahead of undocking.

The big picture: Behnken and Hurley's mission and those that follow are ushering in a new era of spaceflight for NASA, one marked by partnerships with commercial companies that serve not only the government, but other private entities.

  • Along with SpaceX, NASA also has a contract with Boeing to eventually fly people to the space station, and the agency is making plans to allow private individuals to launch to the station for tourist flights.

Go deeper: NASA passes the torch

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Nov 3, 2020 - Science

The International Space Station's end will mix up space geopolitics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twenty years after astronauts moved in full time, the International Space Station is nearing its end, opening up a new geopolitical landscape above Earth.

Why it matters: The end of the program will force nations collaborating on the station, along with China and others new to the human spaceflight scene, to recalibrate. They could also turn their attention to cooperating — or competing — on the Moon instead.

3 hours ago - Technology

TikTok drives new nostalgia economy

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Older brands, trends and technologies are making a comeback as younger consumers desperately chase slower, less chaotic times.

The big picture: TikTok's algorithm makes it easy for flashback items to resurface and quickly go viral both on its platform and eventually on other social networks.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.