SpaceX set to launch humans from US for 1st time since 2011

SpaceX set to launch humans from US for 1st time since 2011


NASA and SpaceX performed a dry run in preparation for the first manned space mission from US soil since 2011. Liftoff is currently scheduled for 4:33 p.m. ET (1:33 p.m. PT) on Wednesday, May 27.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket as part of an extended stay at the International Space Station (ISS) for the Demo-2 mission. As the last flight test for SpaceX, this mission will validate the company’s crew transportation system. It will include testing of the launch pad, rocket and the spacecraft as well as operational capabilities. This also will be the first time that NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit.

Behnken will be the joint commander and his responsibilities will include rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station. Hurley is the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, and will handle launch, landing and recovery.

The Crew Dragon will be accelerated to a speed of 27,354.21 km/h by the Falcon 9 rocket on lift off and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station. While in orbit, tests will be conducted and the docking will take place after 24 hours. While the spacecraft is programmed to do the docking automatically, the crew will be constantly monitoring it.

The Crew Dragon can stay in orbit for up to 110 days but the next commercial launch will be capable of at least 210 days. After the mission is over, the spacecraft will undock automatically and reenter Earth’s atmosphere with the planned splash down off Florida’s Atlantic coast. Crew will be picked up by SpaceX’s Go Navigator recovery vessel from the ocean.

Falcon 9 is a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium lift launch vehicle. The first stage is capable of re-entering the atmosphere and landing vertically after separating from the second stage. The reusable system is claimed to be significantly cheaper than traditional launch vehicles where the rockets burn up in the atmosphere.

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