NASA Astronauts Launch from America in Historic Check Flight of SpaceX Crew Dragon

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From NASA

Could 30, 2020 RELEASE 20-057

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the corporate’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complicated 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the Worldwide House Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the primary launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the Worldwide House Station as a part of the company’s Industrial Crew Program. The take a look at flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at three:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Could 30, from Launch Complicated 39A on the Kennedy House Heart. A brand new period of human spaceflight is ready to start as American astronauts as soon as once more launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the primary time for the reason that conclusion of the House Shuttle Program in 2011. Credit: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

For the primary time in historical past, NASA astronauts have launched from American soil in a commercially constructed and operated American crew spacecraft on its approach to the Worldwide House Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off at three:22 p.m. EDT Saturday on the corporate’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complicated 39A at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida.

“At this time a brand new period in human spaceflight begins as we as soon as once more launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their approach to the Worldwide House Station, our nationwide lab orbiting Earth,” stated NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “I thank and congratulate Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and the SpaceX and NASA groups for this vital achievement for the US. The launch of this industrial area system designed for people is an outstanding demonstration of American excellence and is a crucial step on our path to increase human exploration to the Moon and Mars.”

Generally known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end take a look at flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, together with launch, in-orbit, docking and touchdown operations. That is SpaceX’s second spaceflight take a look at of its Crew Dragon and its first take a look at with astronauts aboard, which can pave the way in which for its certification for normal crew flights to the station as a part of NASA’s Industrial Crew Program.

“It is a dream come true for me and everybody at SpaceX,” stated Elon Musk, chief engineer at SpaceX. “It’s the end result of an unimaginable quantity of labor by the SpaceX group, by NASA and by various different companions within the course of of creating this occur. You possibly can have a look at this because the outcomes of 100 thousand folks roughly if you add up all of the suppliers and everybody working extremely exhausting to make today occur.”

This system demonstrates NASA’s dedication to investing in industrial corporations by way of public-private partnerships and builds on the success of American corporations, together with SpaceX, already delivering cargo to the area station.

President Donald Trump, right, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 .President Donald Trump, right, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 .

President Donald Trump, proper, Vice President Mike Pence, and Second Girl Karen Pence watch the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the corporate’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, from the balcony of Operations Assist Constructing II at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the primary launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the Worldwide House Station as a part of the company’s Industrial Crew Program. The take a look at flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley launched at three:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Could 30, from Launch Complicated 39A on the Kennedy House Heart. A brand new period of human spaceflight is ready to start as American astronauts as soon as once more launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the primary time for the reason that conclusion of the House Shuttle Program in 2011. Credit: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

“It’s tough to place into phrases how proud I’m of the individuals who acquired us right here at this time,” stated Kathy Lueders, NASA’s Industrial Crew Program supervisor. “After I take into consideration all the challenges overcome – from design and testing, to paper opinions, to working from dwelling throughout a pandemic and balancing household calls for with this important mission – I’m merely amazed at what the NASA and SpaceX groups have achieved collectively. That is only the start; I will likely be watching with nice anticipation as Bob and Doug get able to dock to the area station tomorrow, and thru each section of this historic mission.”

SpaceX managed the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Management Heart Firing Room four, the previous area shuttle management room, which SpaceX has leased as its main launch management heart. As Crew Dragon ascended into area, SpaceX commanded the spacecraft from its mission management heart in Hawthorne, California. NASA groups are monitoring area station operations all through the flight from Mission Management Heart on the company’s Johnson House Heart in Houston.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the area station at 10:29 a.m. Sunday, Could 31. NASA Tv and the company’s web site are offering ongoing reside protection of the Crew Dragon’s journey to the orbiting laboratory. Behnken and Hurley will work with SpaceX mission management to confirm the spacecraft is performing as supposed by testing the environmental management system, the shows and management system, and by maneuvering the thrusters, amongst different issues. The primary docking maneuver started Saturday, Could 30, at four:09 p.m., and the spacecraft will start its shut strategy to the station at about eight:27 a.m. Sunday, Could 31. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously, however the crews onboard the spacecraft and the area station will diligently monitor the efficiency of the spacecraft because it approaches and docks to the ahead port of the station’s Concord module.

After efficiently docking, the crew will likely be welcomed aboard the Worldwide House Station, the place they’ll turn out to be members of the Expedition 63 crew, which presently contains NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. NASA will proceed reside protection by way of hatch opening and the crew welcoming ceremony. The crew will carry out assessments on Crew Dragon along with conducting analysis and different duties with the area station crew.

Three astronauts aboard the Worldwide House Station will take part in a reside NASA Tv crew information convention from orbit on Monday, June 1, starting at 11:15 a.m. on NASA TV and the company’s web site.

Demo-2 Astronauts

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, foreground, and Douglas Hurley, wearing SpaceX spacesuitsNASA astronauts Robert Behnken, foreground, and Douglas Hurley, wearing SpaceX spacesuitsNASA astronauts Robert Behnken, foreground, and Douglas Hurley, carrying SpaceX spacesuits, are seen as they depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Constructing for Launch Complicated 39A to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-2 mission launch, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the primary launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the Worldwide House Station as a part of the company’s Industrial Crew Program. The take a look at flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew ransportation system. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to launch at three:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Could 30, from Launch Complicated 39A on the Kennedy House Heart. A brand new period of human spaceflight is ready to start as American astronauts as soon as once more launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the primary time for the reason that conclusion of the House Shuttle Program in 2011. Credit: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

Behnken is the joint operations commander for the mission, answerable for actions akin to rendezvous, docking and undocking, in addition to Demo-2 actions whereas the spacecraft is docked to the area station. He was chosen as a NASA astronaut in 2000 and has accomplished two area shuttle flights. Behnken flew STS-123 in March 2008 and STS-130 in February 2010, performing three spacewalks throughout every mission. Born in St. Anne, Missouri, he has bachelor’s levels in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington College in St. Louis and earned a grasp’s and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Know-how in Pasadena. Earlier than becoming a member of NASA, he was a flight take a look at engineer with the U.S. Air Pressure.

NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley waves as he departs the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building for Launch Complex 39ANASA astronaut Douglas Hurley waves as he departs the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building for Launch Complex 39ANASA astronaut Douglas Hurley waves as he and fellow crew member Robert Behnken depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Constructing for Launch Complicated 39A to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-2 mission launch, Saturday, Could 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is the primary launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the Worldwide House Station as a part of the company’s Industrial Crew Program. The take a look at flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX’s crew transportation system. Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to launch at three:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, Could 30, from Launch Complicated 39A on the Kennedy House Heart. A brand new period of human spaceflight is ready to start as American astronauts as soon as once more launch on an American rocket from American soil to low-Earth orbit for the primary time for the reason that conclusion of the House Shuttle Program in 2011. Credit: NASA/Invoice Ingalls

Hurley is the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, answerable for actions akin to launch, touchdown and restoration. He was chosen as an astronaut in 2000 and has accomplished two spaceflights. Hurley served as pilot and lead robotics operator for each STS‐127 in July 2009 and STS‐135, the ultimate area shuttle mission, in July 2011. The New York native was born in Endicott however considers Apalachin his hometown. He holds a Bachelor of Science diploma in civil engineering from Tulane College in New Orleans and graduated from the U.S. Naval Check Pilot Faculty in Patuxent River, Maryland. Earlier than becoming a member of NASA, he was a fighter pilot and take a look at pilot within the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mission Targets

The Demo-2 mission is the ultimate main take a look at earlier than NASA’s Industrial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the area station. As SpaceX’s remaining flight take a look at, it’s going to validate all elements of its crew transportation system, together with the Crew Dragon spacecraft, spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch automobile, launch pad 39A and operations capabilities.

Whereas en path to the station, Behnken and Hurley will take management of Crew Dragon for 2 handbook flight assessments, demonstrating their skill to manage the spacecraft ought to a problem with the spacecraft’s automated flight come up. On Saturday, Could 30, whereas the spacecraft is coasting, the crew will take a look at its roll, pitch and yaw. When Crew Dragon is about 1 kilometer (zero.6 miles) beneath the station and transferring round to the docking axis, the crew will conduct handbook in-orbit demonstrations of the management system within the occasion it had been wanted. After pausing, rendezvous will resume and mission managers will make a remaining determination about whether or not to proceed to docking as Crew Dragon approaches 20 meters (66 ft).

For operational missions, Crew Dragon will have the ability to launch as many as 4 crew members at a time and carry greater than 220 kilos of cargo, permitting for an elevated quantity crew members aboard the area station and rising the time devoted to analysis within the distinctive microgravity setting, in addition to returning extra science again to Earth.

The Crew Dragon getting used for this flight take a look at can keep in orbit about 110 days, and the precise mission period will likely be decided as soon as on station based mostly on the readiness of the following industrial crew launch. The operational Crew Dragon spacecraft will likely be able to staying in orbit for no less than 210 days as a NASA requirement.

On the conclusion of the mission, Behnken and Hurley will board Crew Dragon, which can then autonomously undock, depart the area station, and re-enter Earth’s ambiance. Upon splashdown off Florida’s Atlantic coast, the crew will likely be picked up by the SpaceX restoration ship and returned to the dock at Cape Canaveral.

NASA’s Industrial Crew Program is working with SpaceX and Boeing to design, construct, take a look at and function protected, dependable and cost-effective human transportation methods to low-Earth orbit. Each corporations are centered on take a look at missions, together with abort system demonstrations and crew flight assessments, forward of repeatedly flying crew missions to the area station. Each corporations’ crewed flights would be the first instances in historical past NASA has despatched astronauts to area on methods owned, constructed, examined and operated by non-public corporations. 

Be taught extra about NASA’s Industrial Crew program at:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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