NASA and SpaceX confirm SpaceX’s first ever astronaut launch is a ‘go’

Pablo Tucker
May 27, 2020

Assuming the weather cooperates in Florida, tomorrow's launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on a "demo" flight to the International Space Station will mark an important resumption of US space travel capability.

The sun rises with SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule sitting atop a Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts arrived for the May 27th scheduled inaugural flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft. The launch broadcast commentators are Marie Lewis, Dan Huot, Gary Jordan, Derrol Nail, and Tahira Allen from NASA, and Lauren Lyons, John Insprucker, and Jessie Anderson from SpaceX, with special guest host and former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. The instantaneous launch window opens at 4:33 p.m. EDT.

Saturday and Sunday are backup days for launch, when weather officials say conditions will actually be better.

Live coverage will begin approximately four hours before liftoff.

After launch, it will take the capsule a little over 24 hours to reach the ISS.

Hurley and Behnken will board the SpaceX Dragon capsule on top of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA veterans Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will be the first to fly in the spacecraft. SpaceX would probably like to wrap the mission up as rapidly as possible, as Crew Dragon can't be fully certified until it returns the astronauts safely to Earth. These systems include the environmental and life support systems, the thermal control systems, the maneuvering thrusters, and others. Once Hurley and Behnken reach the ISS, they are expected to stay there anywhere from six weeks to three months before returning.


When Hurley and his crew flew on the last shuttle mission in 2011, they carried a flag to the space station.

SpaceX has set up two recovery ships off the coast of Florida, and NASA has two military cargo planes ready to take off when needed.

"Remember, this is a test flight".

SpaceX successfully tested Crew Dragon without astronauts past year in its first orbital mission to the space station. They will then be on-route for a rendezvous with the International Space Station at 11:39 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 28. Before becoming an astronaut with NASA in 2000, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps.

This Demo-2 mission will be history-making in two ways. SpaceX's Crew Dragon, on the other hand, looks to be something straight out of science fiction that has been made real.

If you want to know exactly what to expect during launch and after, check out this sleek animation from SpaceX showing the major milestones during the flight.


The launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida is scheduled at at 4.33pm Eastern time (9.33pm London time) tomorrow and will be the first from U.S. soil in almost a decade.

Unfortunately, this same capsule was lost on April 20th, 2019, during a series of uncrewed test firings created to test the Super Draco engines. However, by January, SpaceX completed an in-flight test of the Crew Dragon's launch escape capabilities that demonstrated the spacecraft's ability to carry its crew to safety in the event of an emergency during ascent.

SpaceX Demo-1 performed flawlessly on launch and arrival to the International Space Station back on March 2, 2019.

"And we're continuing to make progress towards our mission".

In particular, NASA intends to send astronauts back to the Moon in 2024 as part of Project Artemis, which will require the completion of the Space Launch System (SLS) or the services of domestic launch providers. Similarly, NASA intends to build the Lunar Gateway in orbit of the Moon and establish infrastructure on the lunar surface.


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