Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX successfully conducted its first crewed mission (Demo-2) to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 30th. NASA Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were launched aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket to the orbiting laboratory. The pair is expected to return on August 2nd, Dragon will conduct a parachute-assisted landing in the Atlantic Ocean where SpaceX recovery teams will rescue humans for the first time. Demo-2 will certify the spacecraft is well suited for operational crewed missions.
SpaceX’s second crewed mission to ISS will deploy a crew of four astronauts. The operational mission referred to as Crew-1 will fly three NASA astronauts and one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut aboard the Dragon spacecraft. The astronauts who will conduct the Crew-1 mission are: NASA Astronaut Victor Glover will be the spacecraft's commander; NASA Astronaut Micheal Hopkins, joint spacecraft commander; NASA Astronaut Shannon Walker will be a mission specialist; And JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who is also undergoing training to ride alongside the NASA astronauts. He will also be a mission specialist. Noguchi shared that Crew-1 is undergoing training at NASA facilities in Texas and SpaceX in California, he said:
“Most of the space training will be conducted in Los Angeles, California, [at] SpaceX headquarters. Some of the training will take place in Houston, Texas so I will be moving between those two states."
The Falcon 9 rocket first-stage booster that will launch SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission arrived at a SpaceX facility in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday (featured above). Today, July 16, NASA released the photographs above, “The rocket was shipped from the SpaceX facility in McGregor, Texas, and will now undergo pre-launch processing in the company’s facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,” the agency stated.
The McGregor team also completed a static fire test earlier this week of Falcon 9’s second stage engine for the Crew-1 mission, which will propel Crew Dragon toward the @space_station once the first stage separates and reorients to land back on Earth pic.twitter.com/QYaMgLQeLg— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 24, 2020
The booster underwent a successful static-fire test on April 24th, this preflight preparation ensures the rocket is working optimally. – “The team at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas completed a static fire test … of the Falcon 9 first stage that will launch Crew Dragon’s first operational mission (Crew-1),” SpaceX announced in April. Crew-1 will launch from historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center sometime in mid-September. It will be the first time NASA launches an entire crew of four astronauts from American soil since the Space Shuttle fleet was grounded in 2011.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft that will ferry them to the orbiting laboratory is also undergoing preparation.
To test how comfortable a crew of four astronauts would be inside Crew Dragon, the Demo-2 astronauts are actively assessing the spacecraft while its docked to the space station’s Harmony module. Earlier this month, four out of five astronauts at the ISS Lab conducted a ‘habitability test’ aboard Crew Dragon. – “Four out of the five Expedition 63 crew members assessed comfort factors inside the docked SpaceX Crew Dragon...This is a demonstration of the Crew Dragon’s habitability ahead of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission planned for later this year,” the agency shared in a press release. “Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken performed a series of tests to verify Crew Dragon’s features and functions while in orbit around Earth, including opening and closing the hatch, operating Dragon’s waste system, donning their spacesuits, and moving cargo back into the vehicle,” NASA representative said, “They were also joined by two more crew members to test Dragon’s sleeping configuration to assess the spacecraft, and determine what improvements can be made for future crews.”
Source: NASA / SpaceX