SpaceX and NASA to launch first manned flight in nine years

Katie Ramirez
August 3, 2020

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had arrived in Florida to watch, but headed back to the White House once the launch was called off. The launch will be the first time NASA sent astronauts to the International Space Station in a commercially built spacecraft, and the first time humans have gone into orbit from the US since 2011. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell have also implored the public to follow the launch on television in order to prevent crowds of spectators from triggering a Covid 19 outbreak. Rather than spend billions developing and flying cargo and resupply missions, in 2010 NASA opted to pay fixed-bid contracts for routine launches to private companies while concentrating on major goals like the 2024 Artemis moon program.

Piloted by NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, it will head for the International Space Station.

Yes, today is the day when Behnken and Hurley ride the Dragon for what NASA is calling its Demo-2 mission, a test mission to help prove the systems meet NASA's requirements for certification to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and back.

NASA stopped building its own shuttles almost 10 years ago and officials say they're ready to be customers of private companies, with Musk's business being the first example. The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched aboard Falcon-9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on May 27 at 4.32 PM EDT (May 28 2.02 AM IST). And given that up to seven people can fit in Crew Dragon, SpaceX plans to sell space to space tourists.

Gradually, it has earned the trust of the planet's largest space agency.

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NASA is also paying Boeing to build its own capsule, the Starliner, which is still not ready.

If NASA could entrust "low Earth orbit" space travel to the private sector, it would free up dollars for its more distant missions.

Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon await their NASA astronaut launch debut, May 27th. Touch screens have replaced switches.

It looks entirely different from the huge winged space shuttles that carried astronauts into space from United States soil from 1981 to 2011.

As a direct result of SpaceX's significant safety improvements, it and NASA are ironically going to have a more challenging time launching Crew Dragon as dozens of possible abort splashdown locations stretching across the Atlantic Ocean will have to be constantly monitored for weather violations.

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