Friday, 05 June, 2020


SpaceX is nine days away from its first manned launch

Hurley and Behnken arrive at the Kennedy Space Center ahead of Space Demo-2 launch on May 27 Image credit NASA Kim Shiflett
Kristine Garrett | 22 May, 2020, 09:59

Known as Crew Dragon Demo-2 (DM-2), the flight will mark the first time that American astronauts have launched from US soil into space since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

The meeting was held virtually, with Pence in Washington, and NASA administrators and astronauts checking in remotely.

SpaceX is configured to send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on May 27.

"I happen to have been one of the four astronauts who landed here nearly nine years ago in T-38s on the 4th of July in 2011 to close out the Space Shuttle Program".

The pair will lift-off in a SpaceX crew dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Demo-2 crew members Robert Behnken (far left) and Douglas Hurley are greeted by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (far right) Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana at the Launch and Landing Facility runway. It is the final flight test for the system to be certified for regular, crew flights to the station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Adding to the appeal is the flash generated by Musk, SpaceX's chief executive, designer and founder who shot his red Tesla Roadster into outer space two years ago during the first flight of a supersized Falcon Heavy rocket. The tour group also included fellow astronauts Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins, who'll fly the next Crew Dragon mission later this year. Incidentally, Hurley was the one who piloted that final Shuttle mission to the International Space Station almost a decade ago.

"This is an awesome time to be an astronaut, with a new spacecraft", Behnken said during a press conference in Florida. The astronaut's SpaceX spacesuit will also have a futuristic look to them.

It is considered as coming back home sort to both these astronauts and most for the Hurley. Hurley said, "it's been a long road"; he is looking forward to being one of the first humans to fly in the Crew Dragon capsule.

This SpaceX illustration shows an artistic vision of a Crew Dragon flight.

The capsule has the familiar cone shape, but inside touchscreens replace the customary, countless switches.

It has built-in exhaust engines created to launch the rocket pod in an emergency, from the moment Hurley and Behnken engage until they reach orbit. "John and I had our ejection seats, but they wouldn't have done much for us on liftoff", sending them straight through the rockets' trail of fire.

"I don't think I need to remind my employees how important this is", Shotwell, the company president, said.

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