NASA gave a green light on Friday to the launch in space May 27 by two US astronauts aboard a SpaceX rocket. It will be the first 100% American manned mission since the space shuttle was stopped in 2011 after 30 years in service.
Will SpaceX win the space race for private companies? NASA announced Friday, May 22, that it had given the green light on Wednesday, May 27 to send two US astronauts into space aboard a SpaceX rocket. It will be the first manned flight since 2011 from US soil to the International Space Station (ISS).
“The NASA SpaceX Crew Dragon mission has the green light for launch,” NASA tweeted.
– Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) May 22, 2020
Older officials from the US Space Agency and Elon Musk’s company had met since Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to verify that everything was clear and secure for the mission.
Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will start on May 27 at 16:00 (08:33 GMT) aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, en route to the ISS, where they will moor the next day.
It will be the first 100% American manned mission since the space shuttle ended in 2011 after 30 years of service.
Since then, only the Russians have had a means of space transportation and dozens of American astronauts (and other countries) have learned Russian and traveled aboard Soyuz rockets, departing from the Baikonur cosmos in Kazakhstan, to return to the station, permanently occupied since 2000 by Americans and Russians.
NASA has since funded the presidency of Barack Obama SpaceX ($ 3.1 billion in contracts) and separate Boeing ($ 4.9 billion) to give the United States independent access to space. The program was originally planned to take over from the shuttles in 2015.
A delay that Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, already considered 2010 “humiliating and unacceptable”. In the end, the hole will have lasted almost nine years – provided SpaceX flight goes well.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have trained for five years on the Crew Dragon capsule during the ultra-modern Apollo capsules in the 1960s. The inside is controlled by touch screens. Like Apollo, the Crew Dragon will return to Earth on Earth.
The SpaceX and Boeing companies will each have to make six trips with four astronauts to the ISS in the coming years and not count on the demonstration mission.
If SpaceX, founded in 2002 by the then millionaire Elon Musk (he is now a billionaire), succeeded in this mission, called Demo-2 after Demo-1, which went without incident on March 2019, it would be the first private company in space history that has transported astronauts to the ISS.