It’s beginning to really feel actual. Both Boeing and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. have contracts with NASA to fly astronauts to the International Space Station as a part of what’s often known as the Commercial Crew Program. Seven years after the top of the Space Shuttle program, NASA launched the astronauts who will fly with each firms.
Now comes the arduous half.
On Monday, at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., the media-and extra importantly, SpaceX employees-got an opportunity to meet the 4 astronauts who will fly on “Crew Dragon,” the spacecraft SpaceX designed to ferry astronauts safely to and from the orbiting lab. Here are the subsequent large steps for SpaceX and the Dragon crew:
– Demo-1: SpaceX will conduct an uncrewed demonstration mission with out people aboard often known as Demo-1. The Crew Dragon spacecraft assigned to Demo-1 underwent thermal vacuum and acoustic testing at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio and arrived in Florida final month. Demo-1 is at present focused for November.
– In Flight Abort Test: SpaceX will display its skill to swiftly carry the Dragon capsule to security within the occasion of an in-flight mishap with the Falcon 9 rocket. There will not be astronauts on board for this check, which will probably be carried out from Launch Complex 39A on the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Neither NASA or SpaceX has named a goal month; early subsequent yr appears probably.
– Demo-2: Following Demo-1 and the abort check, Air Force Col. Bob Behnken and former Marine Corps check pilot Doug Hurley would be the first two astronauts to fly in Dragon, which is able to launch from Kennedy Space Center. Hurley, who has been with NASA for 18 years, stated he is thrilled with the white space fits SpaceX designed-if you watched the Falcon Heavy launch in February, the dummy “Starman” was sporting one behind the wheel of Musk’s cherry purple Tesla Roadster. “The old space suits are really heavy,” stated Hurley. “SpaceX started from scratch and built this in house. It’s pretty neat looking. I’ve worn the suit over 20 times already, and it’s lighter and a lot more comfortable to wear.”
Demo-2 is at present focused for April 2019.Though SpaceX and Boeing are in a race to see who will get astronauts to the ISS first, each firms, in addition to NASA, stated they’re specializing in security over schedule.
“We are not going to fly until we are ready to fly safely,” stated SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell on the occasion Monday. “We need to hit all the boxes and do everything we need to do to take astronauts from U.S. soil as often as NASA will let us.”After SpaceX efficiently completes Demo-2, NASA will certify the spacecraft and programs for normal crewed launches to the ISS, with astronauts Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover flying the primary operational mission.
Even with all the security precautions and testing, nevertheless, the astronauts stay conscious that space flight is extraordinarily hazardous.”The only thing I’m afraid of,” stated Glover, who’s married and has 4 daughters, “is not coming home to my family.”