NASA launches new era, carrying 4 astronauts with first operational launch of SpaceX crew drone

After six years, two successful Test flights And US venture is poised for a multi-billion dollar investment in NASA Four astronauts launched The first government-certified flight of the International Space Station, a commercially developed SpaceX crew dragon spacecraft, by the end of this week.

Originally expected to take off on Saturday, it was delayed at 7:27 pm EST on Sunday due to high winds at the Kennedy Space Center and weather offshore, where the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket will attempt to land on the SpaceX droneship . The company plans to reuse the boosters for the next Crew Dragon flight.

Sufficiently, three-man one-woman Crew Their spacecraft is named “Resilience”.

“It works well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events,” said mission commander Mike Hopkins. “I think we can all agree that 2020 has definitely been a challenging year – global epidemics, economic tightness, civil unrest, segregation.

“And in spite of all that, SpaceX, NASA has kept the production line open and finished this amazing vehicle that is getting ready to go on its first flight to the International Space Station.”

How to watch SpaceX crew dragon launch

  • what: NASA launches 4 astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon on a mission to the International Space Station
  • date: Sunday is November 15, 2020
  • Time: Live coverage starts at 3:30 pm EST. Target launch for 7:27 pm EST
  • place: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
  • Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device.

Joining Hopkins will be former F / A-18 carrier pilot Victor Glover, research astronaut Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

This will be the second flight for both Hopkins and Walker, who previously flew in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, and the third for Noguchi, a veteran of both the Soyuz and the spacecraft. Glover, the first African American astronaut to join a long-term space station crew, is making its first space flight.

From left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi Kennedy SpaceX crew from SpaceX crew arrived to prepare for launch at the International Space Station.

NASA / Joel Kovski

If all goes well, the crew will execute an automatic pact with the Dragon International Space Station, which will close a six-month stay for gliding to a dock at the lab’s forward port around 11pm on Monday .

The Kennedy Space Center remains closed for general business due to the coronovirus protocol and astronauts have been in strict quarantine for the past several weeks to ensure that no one delivers the virus to the space station.

Against that backdrop, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted overnight that he was “tested for COVID four times today. Two tests came negative, two came back positive.” He later stated that he had experienced “mild sniffing and coughing and slight fever in the last few days. There are no symptoms yet.”

Breidenstein told The Washington Post that contact tracing revealed that Musk had not come in contact with anyone who had access to Crew-1 astronauts and was not expected to have any impact on the launch.

NASA managers probably did not attempt to warn that large crowds were expected to gather along Florida’s “Space Coast” to witness the start of the weekend. But Cathy Lieders, director of NASA’s Space Exploration Directorate, urged the public to be cautious Wear a mask And socially spaced wherever they can gather.

“We are expecting a big turnout,” she said. “We want people to celebrate with us (but) we want people to be careful when they are out. We would have been really sad if it had been a super-spreader event.”

On one hand the managers of COVID, NASA and SpaceX reviewed the launch readiness on Friday to assess the weather and demonstrated the performance of nine first-stage engines of the Falcon 9 rocket during a test firing on Wednesday. The engines received a clean bill of health and forecasters predicted 60% acceptable weather at the launch site on Sunday.

A SpaceX simulator (from left to right) in the Crux-1 astronaut simulator: Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi.


Mission managers will continue to assess conditions in the Atlantic Ocean along the northwest trajectory of the cruise dragon, to ensure that winds and maritime states are acceptable in case of malfunctions by forcing the crew to take an emergency stride Can.

The recovery of the first stage of Falcon 9 requires relatively calm seas, which the company plans to use again for the next Crew Dragon flight, six months from now. A company droneship, nicknamed “Just Read the Instructions”, went into the sea on Thursday, located several hundred miles north-east of Cape Canaveral.

“Landing season for the first leg is a big thing,” Liders said on Thursday. “This is the phase we’re using for Crew-2, so we care about it. It’s not that we don’t care about them (all), but it’s an important phase.”

NASA is relying on Crew-1’s flight and missions by SpaceX and Boeing to end the agency’s sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft for low-Earth orbit travel. NASA has spent $ 4 billion to buy seats aboard the Soyuz spacecraft since 2006 and another $ 6 billion, based on its commercial crew program, eventually awarding contracts to SpaceX and Boeing.

To achieve “operational” status, the agency was given a “human rate” SpaceX crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket, an elaborate process that ended in two test flights, one unplotted and the other Taking astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Bacon to Space Station 64-day stay Earlier in the summer.

SpaceX Splashdown is a milestone


With two successful test flights behind them, NASA engineers were able to certify the spacecraft after detailed analysis of telemetry and flight hardware inspection. It was the first such certification after the spacecraft was built in the 1970s and the first commercially developed spacecraft was delivered.

“I believe that 20 years from now, we are going to see this as a major turning point in space exploration and use,” said Phil McIlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA headquarters. “It is not an exaggeration to say that with this milestone, NASA and SpaceX have transformed the historic arc of human space transport.

“Not only can NASA transport our astronauts from the International Space Station with American systems, but now, for the first time in history, the commercial ability to safely and reliably transport people from a private sector unit into space is.”

“Thanks to a number of NASA contracts to deliver cargo and astronauts to the space station,” said Benji Reid, SpaceX director of crew mission management. “And it’s super cool.”

NASA managers opted to go ahead with the Crew-1 flight to fix a handful of problems in the wake of this summer’s Demo-2 test flight. In one case, SpaceX elevated heat-shield insulation in areas where more re-entry erosion was observed than expected. In another, the company reformed a system that was used to trigger the release of stable drug parachutes from lineage to spatter.

More recently, SpaceX had to solve the problem of a micro Falcon 9 engine that triggered an abortive launch on October 2 that was based on the US space force’s navigation satellite. The problem was traced to residual contamination in turbopump machinery found in GPS rockets. Similar problems were found in Falcon 9 of the Crew-1.

Each booster had two engines replaced and GPS satellites Successfully launched 5 November. SpaceX testing fired engines in the first leg of the Crew-1 Falcon 9 on Wednesday and no problems were noted.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon has been moved to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in anticipation of the Crew-1 mission launching 4 astronauts to the International Space Station.

NASA / Joel Kovski

Standing to welcome him will be Expedition 64 Commander Sergey Ryaznikov, Sergei Kud-Severchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. Rubin currently used the Soyuz seat in NASA’s last contract, when he and his two crew were Blasted on October 14 From the Baconur Cosmodrome aboard the Soyuz MS-17 / 63S spacecraft.

With the arrival of the Crew Dragon, the station crew would swell at seven, working five and living in the American section of the laboratory, while Riznikov and Kud-Savarkakov operated the systems in the Russian section.

“It’s going to be great to see the crew,” Rubins said, and we’ll definitely welcome him on board, because with more crew members, we could spend a lot more time doing scientific research and experiments Are, ”Rubins said. launch.

“There is a certain amount of time that we have to devote to station maintenance only, and with only one or two US and international partner crew members, it’s hard to get all the science we want to do . So all these additional crew should be there. The members there mean that we can accomplish this more scientifically. “

The station’s life support system, which includes water recycling equipment and carbon dioxide removal gear, is mounted above to support the seven-man crew and additional stores and supplies are maintained.

But there are only four crew “sleep stations” in the station’s US segment, and Hopkins plans to bunk in a powered-down crew dragon with a sleeping bag. A new crew compartment is expected to be launched next year.

If all goes well, Hopkins, Glover, Walker and Noguchi will spend 165 days riding the space station, welcoming four cargo ships along the way. Several spacewalks are planned to build an outdoor experiment platform on the European Space Agency’s Columbus Science module and upgrade the station’s solar power system.

And during their stay, the crew will focus on a wide variety of experiments and research projects.

The Crew-1 launch will mirror the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, seen here on May 30 at the Kennedy Space Center blasting off Pad 39A.


The next Crew-Crew Dragon, Crew-2 astronaut Shane Kimbros, Megan McArthur, Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Peskett, are scheduled to launch on March 30. Includes three Russians – Oleg Novitzki, Pyotr Dubrov and Sergei Korsakov. On April 10, Soyuz will increase the station crew to 11.

Ryaznikov, Kud-Savarchkov and Rubins return to Earth a week later on 17 April, landing on the steps of Kazakhstan. Hopkins and his crew-1 colleagues will follow suit around May 1, stretching into the Atlantic Ocean north-east of Cape Canaveral or south into the Gulf of Mexico depending on the season.

Kimbrut and his crew-2 will leave the allies at the station along with Nowitzki, Dubrov, and Korsakov until the next crew dragon arrives in the fall.

“We are considering that the seven crew are advancing our steady state,” said NASA Space Station Integration Manager Kenny Todd. “You’ll have some vehicles and a large crew during your period, but the steady state crew will be seven in size.”


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