18 April 2020 Community news

SpaceX announces date of its first crewed flight to ISS

The first crewed flight of US astronauts to the ISS from US soil since 2011 will take place at the end of May

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft undergoes final processing, in preparation for the Demo-2 launch with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. Image: NASA
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft undergoes final processing, in preparation for the Demo-2 launch with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. Image: NASA

SpaceX and NASA are targeting May 27 for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission (Demo-2) from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first two NASA astronauts to fly onboard the Dragon spacecraft as part of the Demo-2 mission to and from the International Space Station, which will return human spaceflight to the United States since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.

The Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Crew Dragon spacecraft that will support Demo-2 are onsite at SpaceX’s facilities in Florida. To mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil, NASA has revived their worm logo for Demo-2.

SpaceX has completed 26 tests of Crew Dragon’s enhanced Mark 3 parachute design, which will provide a safe landing back on Earth for astronauts returning from the Space Station. These tests include 13 successful single parachute drop tests, 12 successful multi-parachute tests, and a successful demonstration of the upgraded parachute system during Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort test

Additionally, SpaceX and NASA have jointly executed a series of mission simulations from launch and docking to departure and landing, an end-to-end demonstration of pad rescue operations, and a fully integrated test of critical crew flight hardware on the Demo-2 Crew Dragon spacecraft with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley participating in their Demo-2 spacesuits.

Demo-2 is the final major milestone for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system to be certified by NASA for operational crew missions to and from the International Space Station. Once Demo-2 is complete, and the SpaceX and NASA teams have reviewed all the data for certification, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi have been assigned to fly on Dragon’s first six-month operational mission (Crew-1) targeted for later this year.

SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built, and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is a turning point for America’s future in space exploration that lays the groundwork for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

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