SpaceX Crew Dragon is at launchpad, set to put back NASA astronauts in orbit
NASA and Space X’s landmark spaceflight event is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, May 27 when NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will set out on a journey to International Space Station in a newly developed spacecraft called Crew Dragon, built and operated by Space X. This is the first of its kind event whereby astronauts will be launched into orbit aboard in spacecraft built by a private company.
According to Space.com, the spacecraft has reached its launch pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. When SpaceX and NASA together create more history on this site, it must be remembered that this is the same site where NASA’s Apollo and space shuttle missions were launched.
The mission is called Demo-2 and it will lift the NASA astronauts into space at 20:33:33 UTC this Wednesday. This happens to be the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. Also, it happens to be the first crewed orbital spaceflight launched from the United States in nine years. The last space shuttle mission known as STS-135 took place in 2011, which had Hurley as the pilot.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were announced to be the primary crew members of the first two-person orbital spaceflight launch since STS-4 (1982) in August 2018. The veteran astronauts were part of Space Shuttle programs and have two spaceflights to their merit before they became part of the Demo-2 mission.
Hurley will join the mission in the position of primary spacecraft commander and Behnken will be on the crew as joint operations commander. Meanwhile, these two astronauts will have Michael S. Hopkins and Victor J. Glover of NASA as backup crew.
During the flight, the astronauts will carry out a few flight tests for Crew Dragon and fly to the space station, controlling the spacecraft manually and docking with the space station. The return of the spaceflight to Earth is scheduled to happen anytime between one to four months of the launch.
Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 in the hangar at Launch Complex 39A pic.twitter.com/l758CdYXNQ
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 21, 2020
SpaceX released pictures of the Crew Dragon atop Falcon 9 at the launchpad on its official Twitter account on May 21.
“Today the SpaceX, commercial crew and space station communities held thorough discussions about requirements for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 flight test, but still have a few topics remaining for discussion during the Flight Readiness Review and will continue those on Friday,” NASA said in its news update.
“Agency and SpaceX managers gathered at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to focus on the readiness of the Crew Dragon and systems for the Demo-2 mission; the readiness of the International Space Station Program and its international partners to support the flight; and the certification of flight readiness,” the space agency added.