SpaceX counts down to historic Crew Dragon astronaut launch

  • SpaceX counts down to historic Crew Dragon astronaut launch

SpaceX counts down to historic Crew Dragon astronaut launch

The only remaining major hurdle for SpaceX and NASA now is the weather, which is currently only looking around 40% favorable for a launch attempt on schedule for Wednesday, May 27 at 4:33 PM EDT, though during today's press conference officials noted it is actually trending upwards as of today. The dry dress rehearsal will encompass every aspect of launch day, from putting on the spacesuits to climbing into the Crew Dragon capsule.

Entrepreneur Elon MUS$k's SpaceX is set to launch two American astronauts to the International Space Station on Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending the United States space agency's nine-year hiatUS$ in human spaceflight.

Finally, SpaceX is expected to hold its own Launch Readiness Review with appropriate NASA teams in attendance on Monday, May 25th, "to make sure we're go for each aspect, including go to come home", as stated by Reed. The now having to rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to transport NASA astronauts to the ISS - and at the unfathomable cost of $US86 ($132) million per seat. While the mostly automated chase unfolds, Hurley and Behnken will take hands-on control twice to test the crew's ability to manually steer the spacecraft if necessary. This will mark the first time astronauts liftoff from Florida in nine years, and the first time they'll do so for a commercial company. In response to a question regarding human rating by CNBC reporter Michael Sheetz, Steve Jurczyk stated that the Demo-2 FRR was an "intermittent interim human rating certification review - validated that this system meets the human rating certification requirements for the Demo-2 mission and those requirements feed forward to future missions, including the Crew-1 mission". For this mission, Hurley will be the spacecraft commander, responsible for activities such as launch, landing, and recovery.

On May 22, 2020, inside the Operations Support Building II at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA managers pose for a photo following the conclusion of the flight readiness review for the upcoming Demo-2 launch.

Hurley and Benhken inside the Crew Dragon capsule.

This flight demonstration comes nearly a year and a half after the first demo flight of the Crew Dragon (Demo-1).

Post-launch, Behnken and Hurley will spend 19 hours on orbit, with orbit-raising burns and also a manual flight test (the rest of the time Crew Dragon should be under fully automated control) for around 30 minutes just prior to docking. This test was the first time that an American spacecraft docked with the ISS autonomously and returned safely to Earth.

Unfortunately, this same capsule was lost on April 20th, 2019, during a series of uncrewed test firings created to test the Super Draco engines.

Although the exact length of the mission is yet to be determined, NASA has confirmed that operational Crew Dragon spacecraft will be capable of staying in orbit for "at least 210 days".

Mr Musk named his rocket after the Star Wars Millennium Falcon and the capsule's name stems from "Puff the Magic Dragon" - Mr Musk's jab at those who doubted him when he started SpaceX in 2002.

In a departure from the normal pre-countdown script, the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were rotated from vertical to horizontal at launch pad 39A Tuesday morning, May 26, 2020, to give engineers access to a misbehaving cold water line near the top of the booster's transporter-erector. Similarly, NASA intends to build the Lunar Gateway in orbit of the Moon and establish infrastructure on the lunar surface. History will be made, and we are fortunate to be here to witness it! Tune in to NASA's YouTube channel this weekend to watch the historic event.