On Sunday in Florida, the rocket and capsule developed by SpaceX will take crew members to the International Space Station. NASA’s mission follows the successful demonstration of the same spacecraft that was launched in May and sent two astronauts back to Earth in August. Here’s what you need to know about the release.
What is the introduction of SpaceX?
Four astronauts – three from NASA, one from Jaxa, the Japanese space agency – sit inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and are lifted into orbit over the top of a Falcon 9 rocket. This mission is called Crew-1, and the astronauts named their capsule a setback. They are heading to the International Space Station to stay for six months.
This is the first time NASA has called for a Crew Dragon “operational” aircraft. In May, there was a demonstration mission, with two NASA astronauts – Robert Behanken and Douglas Hurley – aboard. The launch was the first time a crew had been thrown out of orbit by the United States since NASA’s spacecraft retired in 2011 on the Endeavor capsule. Its arrival was the first water landing by astronauts on an American spacecraft since the Apollo capsules ceased to fly in the 1970s.
NASA relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to transport its astronauts to the space station. It is increasingly expensive, costing more than $ 90 million per seat.
When is the release?
Crew-1 mission is scheduled to begin Sunday night at 7:27 a.m. Eastern time from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA TV Broadcast at 3:15 p.m.
The astronauts will arrive at the space station at 11pm on Monday night, a journey of about 27 hours.
Forecasts currently offer a 50 percent chance of favorable conditions in Lanspad. SpaceX and NASA are also far away in the Atlantic Ocean. If something goes wrong while climbing the orbit the weather and water conditions there should be very calm and the crew should do the dragon Emergency Splashdown (Adverse weather led to the postponement of the previous Saturday release date).
If Sunday’s release is delayed, Wednesday’s backup is likely.
Who are the astronauts?
Michael S. Hopkins, 51, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, is commander of the aircraft. (Colonel Hopkins was the first member of the newly formed US space force to go into space.) He was one of nine astronauts selected by NASA in 2009. He made a previous voyage to the International Space Station, spending 166 days in orbit in 2013 and 2014.
Shannon Walker, 55, in 2010, had a previous position on the space station. Dr. Walker holds a PhD in space physics from Rice University, where he studied how the solar wind interacts with Venus’ atmosphere.
Sochi Nokuchi, 55, An astronaut makes his third spaceflight with the Japanese space agency Jaxa. He was a member of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery, which launched its first spacecraft in 2005 after losing Colombia and its seven astronauts two years ago.
During that trip to the International Space Station, Mr. Nokuchi undertook three space missions. One of them was to test techniques developed to repair damage to the spacecraft’s thermal tiles, similar to what happened when Columbia re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. In 2009 and 2010, he spent five months in orbit as a member of the space station crew.
Victor Clover, 44, was selected by NASA in 2013 as an astronaut to build his first spaceflight. He was the first black NASA astronaut to serve on a space station crew. Mr. Clover’s achievement was significant for NASA, and it worked to attract attention. “Hidden figures“In its history but so far NASA has sent only 14 black Americans out of a total of more than 300 astronauts.
He will not be the first black astronaut on the station. But those who followed him from NASA were members of the space shuttle crews during the construction of the station and briefly stayed at the outpost.
Alison Waller contributed to the reporting.