NASA is working on the continuing space missions with SpaceX after the success of the Demo-2. SpaceX recently made history as the first private company to launch NASA astronauts to ISS. Now, NASA is preparing four astronauts for the Crew-1 mission, who will once again fly aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
NASA Crew-1 Mission
The NASA Crew-1 mission would be the first official mission with SpaceX and will likely liftoff later this year. Presently, the Demo-2 mission which launched astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station only aimed to test the spacecraft and all its functionality, including manual control.
Ahead of the Crew-1 mission, NASA is working on conducting another unprecedented test with Crew Dragon. This test would check the Crew Dragon’s capability to escape the ISS in an emergency rehearsal. The drill will include four of the give ISS crew members to rehearse an emergency to stimulate a last-minute escape from the space station.
Presently, there are a couple of other tests that are being conducted with the SpaceX Crew Dragon. The Q&A session with the new head of NASA’s Human Spaceflight Officer Kathy Lueders explains a few of these tests. “Every week it wakes up and we do checkouts, and then it goes back into sleep mode. The crew on orbit have also been putting it through its paces. About to do a demonstration with four crew members in the vehicle at once,” she said.
We also learned that the Demo-2 mission is expected to return to Earth in August. The ISS is currently occupied by three NASA astronauts and three Roscosmos astronauts. The upcoming emergency escape rehearsals are expected to involve four of the five occupants, including one of the Roscosmos astronaut.
The NASA and SpaceX partnership as part of the Commercial Crew program has been doing fairly well. As NASA continues experimenting and testing the SpaceX capsules, the agency also gears up for more ambitious missions. This includes the Artemis mission, involving sending astronauts to the polar region of the Moon, aboard a SpaceX rocket. Eventually, NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars, lifting off from the lunar surface, but there’s still a long way to go for that.
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