Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, filled up with emotions as Falcon-9 left Earth successfully in the historic “Launch America” event. NASA and SpaceX successfully landed two astronauts in space from American soil for the first time in 9 years. However, success is a big deal for all Americans. This is mainly because of the previous failure due to poor weather on May 28, 2020. In a post-launch conference held at Kennedy Space Center, Elon Musk found it hard to muster words while under the influence of pure emotion and joy. For Elon, it was 18 years of hard work that helped him make history.
NASA Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley left the historic training room of Neil A. Armstrong yesterday while leaving for Launch Complex 39A. The successful launch of Crew Dragon with the astronauts onboard makes SpaceX the first private organization to launch astronauts for NASA. This is part of the American space organization’s plan to wean the agency of its dependence on Soyuz aircraft to launch its astronauts.
"Astronauts are sometimes referred to as heroes. No doubt Bob and Doug demonstrated that today," says NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester. Tune in for a #LaunchAmerica update: https://t.co/2UI1UqbMOt pic.twitter.com/hALaztMHM8
— NASA (@NASA) May 30, 2020
SpaceX and NASA launch Demo-2 successfully
The Demo-2 mission launch was possible due to the clear weather present yesterday. There was a 50% chance of precipitation yesterday. But, with a little bit of help from above, the mission launched successfully.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 31, 2020
The Demo-2 mission is part of a bigger plan of Crew mission 2020. If everything goes successfully, NASA plans to launch the first Crewed mission, Crew-1, to the ISS by August 30, 2020. Crew-1 will carry 3 NASA astronauts and 1 JAXA astronaut. This is not the first ISS docking for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The Demo-1 mission carried a dummy named Ripley to the ISS. The space agency understood back then that this mission is going to be a success.
You can watch the entire Demo-2 mission live on our webcast page and here as well.
Elon Musk has a little talk with the two sons of the astronauts onboard. The founder of the space agency promised to bring their fathers back home safely. According to Musk, the returning phase is as important as the launch, maybe even more dangerous. SpaceX will be doing everything they have in their inventory to provide maximum safety to the people on board. This is one of the reasons why manned missions are going down year after year. Hopefully, the entire mission will be a success for the two space organizations.
The @SpaceX #CrewDragon launched at 3:22pm EST today with @Astro_Doug & @AstroBehnken onboard. It will dock to the space station Sunday about 10:29am. #LaunchAmerica https://t.co/pfTdcoVqiN pic.twitter.com/RPuezL6kUR
— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) May 30, 2020
One of the main concern about yesterday’s mission was the launching phase, because yesterday, SpaceX’s Starship rocket burst into flames during a ground test at Florida. This incident carved fear down the hearts of all Americans. But, the health of the Falcon-9 rocket holds strong. The first phase of the mission turned out to be a huge success for the Americans. But a huge task awaits them now.
Crew Dragon Capsule docking into the ISS
Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken are the first astronauts to go to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida after 2011. The space shuttle programs seem to be back online for American space centers. Today, after almost 19 hours, at 10:30 A.M. EDT the astronauts will be ready for live docking at the International Space Station (ISS). You can watch everything live on our webcast page. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will dock with the orbiting laboratory dock at the ISS. The timings are subject to change depending on the mission status throughout the journey.
Welcome aboard the @SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft!
In this video from space, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug reveal the name of their capsule: Endeavour. Take a look inside as the crew continues their journey to the @Space_Station: https://t.co/K9S5mejONx pic.twitter.com/mvH8UhE5FW
— NASA (@NASA) May 31, 2020
The entire docking will include the Crew Dragon capsule reveal its docking mechanism for the first time in space. The complete procedure will be done under the complete supervision of both SpaceX and NASA. However, proper will be taken when planning for any unnatural procedure. The life of the two astronauts is the most important here.
Crew Dragon has the provision for automatic as well as manual docking. This means if the automatic docking fails, the astronauts have the provision to take manual control of the spacecraft according to their preference. However, even after the successful docking of the Crew Dragon capsule, the two astronauts will need to stay inside the capsule.
As per the schedule, the vehicle’s hatch will be opening at around 12:45 A.M. EDT, which is almost 2 hours after the docking procedure. The entire mission will come to a successful conclusion once the astronauts onboard the ISS, open the hatch and let the astronauts in.
The two astronauts will join their NASA colleague Chris Cassidy, and two Russian cosmonauts, Ivan Vagner, and Anatoly Ivanishin, who are a part of the space crew mission since April 2020. These three astronauts of NASA’s Expedition 63 team. The five astronauts will then finish it off with a welcoming ceremony scheduled for around 1:05 P.M. EDT.
Hurley and Behnken will be spending anywhere between one and four months onboard the orbiting laboratory in the ISS. This timespan will be a result of the readiness of the next crew mission.
Suryapratim Ray is an engineer, author, robotics hobbyist, and an active Quoran. Being a technical blogger, he covers the good, bad, and ugly of science on a regular basis at Sciencenews18. In addition to his passion for writing, he’s equally keen on learning classical music.