Astronauts speak from ISS after Crew Dragon launch

Katie Ramirez
June 2, 2020

On-board were NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, the first people ever to make the trip to orbit aboard a spacecraft built by a private company.

On May 30, 2020, when astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were driven to the launch site in a black and white Tesla, wearing their black and white spacesuits and they entered the black and white SpaceX Dragon capsule at Cape Carnaveral, to take off in the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the colour coordination did not escape attention. Their upcoming flight test is known as Demo-2, short for Demonstration Mission 2.

When we think of astronauts we visualize them in those cumbersome, bulging spacesuits; sometimes the suit is silver coloured or is white, at other times a striking orange, and wearing and walking in one of those suits can not be easy at all.

"He's just excited that we're going to get a dog when I get home, so he's accepted that uncertainty and [is] continuing to send messages to me while I'm on orbit", Behnken said. During that time they will perform technological and scientific studies before they return to Earth, which will be the final step, if successful, before beginning NASA operational missions funded by private firms. NASA and SpaceX have not revealed many details about the new waste removal system, but Hurley said "it works very similar to the one we were used to in the space shuttle, and it worked very well".

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"Without further ado, we would like to welcome you aboard capsule Endeavour", Hurley said.

Behnken acknowledged that not knowing exactly when he and Hurley are coming back to Earth feels "a little bit odd".

Although Behnken's first Dragon ride is due to end when he and Hurley splash down in the Atlantic this summer, the USA flag will have a lot farther to go. This would apply to future moon missions, Bridenstine added. Just like it did with the launch industry, SpaceX has the potential to essentially create an entirely new market out of thin air now that it can successfully launch people into space for a (relatively) low price. "We had no issues with it". (Hurley also took part in the last shuttle flight in 2011.) The SpaceX crew even accomplished the astounding feat of landing the rocket on a "drone ship" in the Atlantic after the Dragon detached.

In advance of the flight, neither NASA nor SpaceX said much about the toilet that's installed aboard the Crew Dragon. "On Shuttle, we felt the docking".

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