SpaceX to launch two NASA astronauts into space from American soil after nearly a decade. Here’s everything you need to know about SpaceX’s historic Demo-2 launch Tomorrow Wednesday
- 1961: First human in space
- 1969: First human on the moon
- 2000: First human long-term stay aboard the ISS
- 2020: First SpaceX flight with humans on-board
- Tomorrow (May 27) a new chapter of human space exploration begins.
Last week, we told you about NASA’s efforts to return human spaceflight to American soil after nearly a decade. Ever since the Space Shuttle retired almost about a decade ago, United States has paid Russia upwards of $80 million per seat to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
Now, for the first time in a nearly a decade, Elon Musk company, SpaceX, plans to launch two NASA astronauts on Wednesday, in mission called Demo-2. The mission will be first crewed mission in SpaceX history. The mission is technically the final test flight of the company’s spacecraft. Regardless of the nature of the mission, Demo-2 will be the first launch of NASA astronauts from the U.S. since 2011.
According to the announcement, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:33 p.m. EDT May 27, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay at the space station for the Demo-2 mission. As its name implies, Demo-2 will be the second time SpaceX launches its Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station. But, unlike Demo-1 last year, this time two astronauts will be on board. The specific duration of the mission is to be determined.
“This is a new generation, a new era in spaceflight,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said. The historic importance of Demo-2 has also drawn a wide range of audience, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to the nation’s capital.
Preparations Continue for Wednesday’s Launch
NASA and SpaceX launch managers on Monday gave a “go” for the Demo-2 mission, the first launch of astronauts on an American rocket from American soil since the last space shuttle mission in 2011. Demo-2 will be SpaceX’s final test flight to validate its crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon, Falcon 9, launch pad and operations capabilities. During the mission, the crew and SpaceX mission controllers will verify the performance of the spacecraft’s environmental control system, displays and control system, maneuvering thrusters, autonomous docking capability, and more. Launch of the mission, dubbed Launch America, is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 27. Members of the public are invited to participate in the mission through NASA’s virtual guest operations and to apply for virtual NASA social.
The astronauts: Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley