Dozens of boats were seen on Sunday circling around Nasa astronauts after their SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule became the first American spacecraft to splashdown in 45 years.
The large numbers of small craft appeared to be dangerously close to the capsule carrying the astronauts as it splashed down into the ocean just off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
— Jon Nicosia (@NewsPolitics) August 2, 2020
One of the numerous vessels that had come within feet of the spacecraft was carrying a large blue Trump flag, which was clearly visible on the official live feed.
Footage shows large numbers of boats swarming around the area where the capsule landed.
— Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) August 2, 2020
It is not clear how so many people were able to get so close to the craft, or what danger they could have caused.
The astronauts’ capsule was soon after recovered from the Gulf of Mexico by SpaceX‘s Go Navigator ship, which will carry them and the Crew Dragon back to land to bring the mission to its full close.
“That work could presumably have been put in danger by any craft that came too close, and in the event of an emergency the large number of onlookers could have caused significant problems,” reports the Independent.
The boaters were quickly called out on social media for “interfering” with the mission.
Am I seeing this correctly? Did a private boat flying a Trump flag just approach Crew Dragon then have to be forced out? pic.twitter.com/sC8kYpZihK
— Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) August 2, 2020
Looked like at least 3 private boats, one with a Trump 2020 flag
— Nathaniel Reed (@ReedReports) August 2, 2020
It also looks like quite a few boats followed the SpaceX recovery ship out to the splashdown zone, given the number of onlookers circled. pic.twitter.com/Y6pjd8pSaT
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) August 2, 2020
Hey Boaters for Trump, nice flag and all, but maybe give the space people a little room.
— Jarrett Bellini (@JarrettBellini) August 2, 2020
Some chuckleheads with a Trump flag on their boat are apparently interfering with the recovery of the capsule.
— Benjamin Byron Davis (@Tooda) August 2, 2020
So is Pres. @realDonaldTrump going to say something about the private boats flying Trump flags that got in the way of the @SpaceX Dragon capsule recovery, endangering the @NASA astronauts and themselves? pic.twitter.com/Zf0jlrMLkE
— James Ford (@jamesfordtv) August 2, 2020
Dear Morons (with or without Trump flags) running boats up near the #CrewDragon … GO AWAY. YOU ARE NOT HELPING.
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) August 2, 2020