Assuming the weather cooperates and no technical issues crop up, Behnken and Hurley would undock from the station's forward port around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, spend the night aboard the Crew Dragon, and then fire their braking rockets around 1:50 p.m. Sunday for a splashdown in the Gulf around 2:42 p.m.
Upon successful reentry and recovery, the capsule will have completed the certifications needed to have the Crew Dragon approved to support regular flights to and from the orbiting laboratory by future astronauts. "The hardest part was getting us launched, but the most important part is bringing us home", said Behnken during a farewell ceremony on the station August 1.
Splashdown was still scheduled to take place Sunday afternoon off the coast of Pensacola, on the Gulf of Mexico, with an alternate site of Panama City, also on the gulf, at the ready, NASA said in a statement Saturday.
"We won't leave the space station without some good landing opportunities in front of us - good splashdown weather in front of us", he said. It's expected to go back into space again when America returns astronauts to the Moon later this decade.
"We're a little sad to see them go", Cassidy said, "but very excited for what it means to our global space program to add this capability" of commercial crew capsules. There, the crew will emerge from the capsule and receive all necessary medical test and checkouts.
"But if you pack everything at the bottom of the big van that you take on vacation, and you've got to get it all out one item at a time at various times, it can be tiring and eat into your enjoyment".
"The ground teams are fully aware of the challenges of the water landing and what it does to the human body", Hurley said.
The flag - which also flew on the first shuttle flight in 1981 - became a prize for the company that launched astronauts first.
The Crew Dragon was designed and built by SpaceX under contracts with NASA's Commercial Crew Program, an initiative aimed at ending the agency's sole reliance on Russian Soyuz ferry ships for transportation to and from the space station.
Earlier, during the ISS ceremony, Behnken said that 'the hardest part was getting us launched. Their flight was the first time American astronauts have voyaged from the USA since NASA's space shuttle program ended in 2011.
NASA and SpaceX will aim for no more than 60 minutes from splashdown to crew egress of Dragon.
"My son is six years old", says Behnken, "and I can tell from the videos that I get, and talking to him on the phone, that he's changed a lot even in just the couple of months that we've been up here".
Hurley and Behnken are both married to astronauts.
The vehicle Mr Behnken and Mr Hurley flew will be refurbished for a Crew-2 Mission in the first half of 2021 with another four astronauts - including Ms Megan McArthur, Mr Behnken's wife, who will serve as the mission's pilot.