After SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and before NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were out of the capsule, dozens of boats circled the area, creating chaos as recovery crews tried to get to the spacecraft. One had a banner with a “Trump” logo on it.
The spacecraft completed a two-month mission to the International Space Station, and splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida at 2:48PM ET, where recovery boats were waiting nearby to receive the crew.
Why there were private boats in the area at the time of the splashdown wasn’t immediately clear. But it’s a potentially dangerous situation because of the possibility of toxic propellant fumes from the spacecraft’s thrusters. Not to mention the boats could have gotten in the way of an emergency recovery operation.
We’ve reached out to SpaceX and the Coast Guard and will report back with details.