Science

NASA gives go-ahead for first crewed SpaceX flight on May 27

NASA gives go-ahead for first crewed SpaceX flight on May 27”

According to a May 21 post on the NASA commercial crew blog, the panel still had "a few topics remaining for discussion during the Flight Readiness Review and will continue those on Friday". "It was unanimous on the board that we are go for launch".

Elon Musk's company is gearing up for the Wednesday (May 27) launch of the Demo-2 mission, which will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. SpaceX confirmed two hours later that the test was a success.

"I think everybody in the room was very clear that now was the time to speak up if there are any challenges, and there were", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. It's an absolutely huge moment for NASA, but perhaps an even bigger moment for SpaceX. "Roscosmos participated and they were 'go, '" he said.

The pair would join Chris Cassidy, the lone NASA astronaut now on board the station, and two Russian counterparts.

Hurle and Behnken, who arrived in Florida a couple of days ago for final pre-flight preparations, looked in on the flight readiness review as well. That includes final checkouts of the spacecraft, said Kathy Lueders, NASA commercial crew program manager, as well as reviewing data.

He said he and Behnken have been tested twice so far for COVID-19 and "rumor has it we might be tested again before we go". "But it's also true that at the end, as each system and subsystem was considered, we got to a 'go'". NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to launch at 4:33 p.m. EDT on May 27. "We're living the dream", he said. That'll be next week, to the rocket launch.

There'll be a final launch readiness review on Monday, leading up to Wednesday's launch day with President Donald Trump and other VIPs in attendance.

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Since NASA retired its space shuttles, it has not flown a manned mission from Florida, using Russia's Soyuz rockets to carry astronauts into space instead.

In 2014, NASA awarded Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co. contracts worth almost $7 billion to fly US astronauts to the space station. The space agency is paying $90 million to Russia's space agency for a seat on a launch later in 2020.

There have been plenty of setbacks along the way.

Kirk Shireman, NASA ISS program manager, said SpaceX made an unspecified change to the spacecraft after the Demo-1 mission to fix a "very, very remote" possibility of a spacecraft failure that could damage the station.

"But you know what, you can never sell this NASA and SpaceX team short, and they've always accomplished miracles for me", she said. "We had very high confidence that they will function as we need them to".

Lueders stressed that it's not yet time to relax.

Behnken and Hurley have been in quarantine for more than a week, a normal procedure for astronauts going to space.



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