Astronauts ring opening bell for Nasdaq from space station

Pablo Tucker
June 2, 2020

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, which NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley christened "Dragon Endeavor", docked with the ISS without any problems after a sequence of almost two-hour approach maneuvers. During that time they will perform technological and scientific studies before they return to Earth, which will be the final step, if successful, before beginning NASA operational missions funded by private firms.

NASA has yet to decide how long Hurley and Behnken will spend at the space station, but it will be somewhere between one and four months. Called Demo-2, this mission is the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, following the uncrewed Demo-1 mission past year. "NASA is not going to purchase, own, and operate rockets and capsules the way we used to; we're going to partner with commercial industry".

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft attached takes off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"It's great to get the United States back in the crewed launch business, and we're just really glad to be on board this magnificent complex", Hurley said. "It was not quite the same ride, the smooth ride, as the space shuttle was up to MECO [main engine cutoff] - a little bit less g's but a little bit more alive is probably the best way I would describe it". The development process for that future vehicle hasn't been without some attention-grabbing test article rapid disassembles, but this was the most spectacular thus far.

This capsule has been created to fit up to seven people and has also been created to load with cargo to send to space. And who knows? In future years, it may be tucked into spacecraft carrying astronauts to the surface of the moon and Mars.

As the first astronauts to fly aboard Crew Dragon for its maiden human test flight, Behnken and Hurley were very satisfied with the overall quality of the capsule.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that with Musk's pioneering space venture, the entire complexion of space travel is set to change in big ways - what it will cost, who it will be accountable to, what it will yield and yes, also, how the crew and their machines look, and the way ventures are branded and marketed.

In advance of the flight, neither NASA nor SpaceX said much about the toilet that's installed aboard the Crew Dragon. "We had no issues with it".

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