NASA astronauts complete dress rehearsal for groundbreaking SpaceX launch

Rodiano Bonacci
Settembre 14, 2020

"All the teams are "go".

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is raised into a vertical position on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 27, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Then, it'll dock and open the hatch around 2 hours later. The mission's duration is to be determined after its arrival; once complete, SpaceX's Crew Dragon will undock from the station, de-orbit, and return Hurley and Behnken to Earth. "We have some hope for launch day". However, if a delay is forced by poor weather, a backup launch opportunity is available on Saturday, May 30th, at 03:22 p.m. EDT (12:22 p.m. PDT; 19:22 UTC) or on Sunday, May 31st, at 03:00 p.m. EDT (12:00 p.m. PDT; 19:00 UTC). This will be the final test of the human spaceflight system SpaceX developed as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Progam, a partnership between NASA and the aerospace industry to restore the US' ability to send cargo and crews to orbit and the ISS.

NASA and SpaceX are closer than ever to a moment both have been preparing for since the beginning of the Commercial Crew program in 2010.

The standard practice joint FRR that occurs ahead of any crew launch comes after a series of previously held independent specialized reviews - such an engineering review of the Crew Dragon capsule and a flight test rate review led by Kathy Lueders and the Commercial Crew Program team.

The Crew Dragon astronauts are expected to remain aboard the station for at least six weeks and possibly as long as four months, helping Cassidy with a full slate of research and, possibly, with one or more spacewalks to install new solar array batteries and complete installation of a European experiment platform. Just before returning the capsule to Earth, Boeing personnel discovered more bad code which, if it had gone undetected, may have caused the loss of the spacecraft.

A static fire test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, performed on May 22. The weather is only now looking acceptable by 40% for a launch on Wednesday.

Mission managers at NASA and SpaceX collectively gave the green light to move forward with the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. After a day and a half of intensive review and conversation, Steve Jurczyk stated that "We did a thorough review of all of the systems and all the risks, and it was unanimous on the board that we are go for launch".

As it was a sole-source market, it cost NASA a cool $85.4m per seat on a Soyuz rocket. Since 2017, the year Commercial Crew should have launched, NASA has shelled out more than $1bn to send U.S. astronauts to the ISS, according to a NASA inspector general report.

Only the Russian, US, and Chinese governments have done so in the past.

The estimated price for a Crew Dragon seat is roughly $55m, while a seat on Starliner is thought to be about $90m. "An incredible amount of testing". This will the first astronaut launch from the Kennedy Space Center since 2011.

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk will be among those watching in person as the Falcon 9 rocket takes off with the capsule attached.

"I would say it's something maybe we dreamed about, flying something other than a Shuttle, the next vehicle".

NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine spoke at a post review news conference stating that the FRR was a "time to speak up if there are any challenges and there were". Upon conclusion, the only thing left to do will be to load the astronauts and launch to the International Space Station, making history for SpaceX once again.

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