SpaceX is expected to launch its first human mission to space on the afternoon of May 27th after 18 years of tireless efforts to make this happen. Elon Musk founded the company on human spaceflight in 2002, and now in just a few days, the demo-2 mission is about to take its dragon crew to Space from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
NASA’s veteran aeronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would be the first passengers to board on a private vehicle to reach space for the first time in history. For the first time in a decade, humans are expected to launch to orbit from the American soil since July 2011, marking the beginning of a revolutionary era of human spaceflight.
What is it all about?
SpaceX is about to embark on a revolutionary mission that a private vehicle would take humans into space for the first time in history. Funded by NASA, a spacecraft known as Crew Dragon will transport humans to and from the International Space Station. Crew Dragon has flown to space before, but it would be the first time the spacecraft will transport astronauts to space.
What does the Crew Dragon look like?
It’s like a capsule having seven seats for the astronauts facing towards the screen. It feels like you’re inside the car with a trunk to store cargo. The Crew Dragon also has a toilet and privacy curtains, along with an emergency escape system, assuring the safety of the passengers in case something goes wrong during the launch.
How is the launch planned?
Astronauts Behnken and Hurley, in the SpaceX’s custom pressure suits, will head towards the launchpad at around 1 PM ET. They will proceed through an elevator up near the top of the Falcon 9 rocket that would lead them to a suspended hallway called “crew access arm”, an entryway to the Crew Dragon. They will board on the capsule and shut the hatch, which indicates that the vehicle is all set to fuel up for the launch in space.
After the “load and go” process, SpaceX will signal to initiate the launch with take-off scheduled for 4:33 PM ET. In case of any mishap during the launch, the backup date is scheduled later on Saturday, May 30th.
What is the destination?
The mission is set to reach its destination to and from the International Space Station (ISS), about 400 kilometers above Earth. Crew Dragon will take around 19 hours to reach the destination after its launch.
The astronauts will orbit the planet for 19 hours and do some manual flying before they reach the international space station. “It’s obviously something that we want to make sure we understand completely for future crews in case they ever have to fly the vehicle manually,” said Hurley in a press conference.
When will the astronauts return from space?
Source- The Verge
NASA is yet to decide the crew’s return date, and are expected to finalize the return while they are in space. After scheduling the return, astronauts will board on a dragon capsule again and head back to Earth. With the help of parachutes, they will safely splash land in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.
How can you watch this mission?
The mission will be live broadcasted on NASA TV. People can also stream the mission live on SpaceX’s website. NASA has strictly advised people not to visit launch sites in Florida amid the Coronavirus pandemic.