The prestigious NASA team doesn't stop its activities even during this difficult circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, NASA and SpaceX have set themselves a goal called the Commercial Crew Program partnership with a deadline of October 23, which consists of the first operational flight with the astronauts of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station. NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission will be the first of regular rotational missions to the space station after NASA's certification phase is completed.
It is a six-month scientific mission aboard the orbiting laboratory that will take place after Launch Complex 39A located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission will carry Dragon crew commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover and mission specialist Shannon Walker, all of NASA, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.
Crew-1 will be launched in late October to accommodate spacecraft traffic for the upcoming Soyuz crew rotation and better meet the needs of the International Space Station. The launch will follow the arrival of NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos aboard their Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft and the departure of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and of cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner from the space station. The time frame of this phase, scheduled for next spring, also allows the passage of a crew to NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 test flight successfully launched NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on the International Space Station on May 30 and brought them home safely with a splashdown in the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico on August 2. The Crew-1 mission is awaiting completion of data reviews and certification following this test launch. Demo-2 was the first manned flight test of a commercially owned and privately operated human space system.
Photo credit NASA/Bill Ingalls
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