SpaceX, NASA Gear Up for First Manned Mission

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SpaceX and NASA are gearing up for the historic mission, where two NASA astronauts will head to the International SpaceStation from the US soil after nearly a decade. The SpaceX Crew Dragon is officially “go” to launch to kickstart the first crewed test flight of the spaceship.

SpaceX, NASA Gear Up for First Manned Mission

SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch

Both NASA and SpaceX have been reviewing the Crew Dragon and gearing it for the final launch, a few hours from now. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to liftoff from the Florida Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A at 4:33 P.M. EDT, which is roughly 2 AM (on Thursday 28). However, there’s still a 40 percent chance of bad weather.

The space agencies have undergone the Launch Readiness Review (LRR) and the results have been good, noted Hans Koenigsmann vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX. In case there’s extreme bad weather, the agencies have backup launch opportunities on Saturday and Sunday.

“All the teams were go, and we’re continuing to make progress toward our mission. Now the only thing we need to do is figure out how to control the weather,” Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program said in the post-LRR briefing.

SpaceX, NASA Manned Mission

The SpaceX Crew Dragon will take NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to ISS. They will be the first ones to orbit to space aboard a US-made carrier after a decade of relying on Russian space vehicles. Prior to this mission, called as Demo-2, SpaceX had conducted an uncrewed Demo-1 mission of the same launch vehicle.

If everything goes according to plan, the rocket will take the two astronauts on a 19-hour orbital chase of the International Space Station. Once docked, the two astronauts will join the three-person crew of Expedition 63 on Thursday, 28 May.

Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to spend one-to-four months on ISS. Of course, this will largely depend on how well the Crew Dragon spacecraft rides and the status of another Crew Dragon spacecraft to bring them back.

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