US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The Dragon, which will fly with its first ever SpaceX mission with astronauts on board, arrives at the launch pad in Florida before a historic flight next week.
The arrival was another major milestone for SpaceX in anticipation of the planned launch of the Demo-2 mission on May 27, 2020.
Demo-2 will deliver NASA astronauts Dag Hurley and Bob Benken to the International Space Station (ISS) and vice versa. The launch on May 27 on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be the first human orbital space flight to be launched from the United States since the NASA space shuttle was decommissioned in July 2011. Since then, NASA has relied solely on the Soyuz spacecraft to accomplish this task.
Crew Dragon has already made one flight to the ISS – an uncontrolled trip called Demo-1, launched in March 2019. In January, the company launched another Crew Dragon to demonstrate a ship rescue system in the event of an emergency during a flight.
Demo-2 is designed to fully test the Crew Dragon – Falcon 9 system, paving the way for regular flights with the crew to the ISS and vice versa. SpaceX has a $ 2.6 billion contract to complete six of these missions, the first of which is expected to begin later this year if all goes well with Demo-2.
In the next week and a half, activity at the KSC center will increase significantly, as SpaceX and NASA are preparing to launch. For example, Benken and Hurley will fly to KSC from their home base – NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, on Wednesday (May 20). According to agency representatives, NASA will conduct a Demo-2 flight preparedness review to decide whether the mission is ready for launch on May 27.
Like SpaceX, Boeing has a contract to transport astronauts under the NASA commercial crew program, which the aerospace giant will carry out using a capsule called the CST-100 Starliner. But Boeing is not ready to start transporting astronauts; Starliner encountered problems during its version of Demo-1, launched in December this year, and was unable to dock with the ISS as planned.
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