SpaceX and NASA partner for human astronaut launch (space news).
SpaceX and NASA are getting together for a May 27th 2020 Falcon s launch of the Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the first two NASA astronauts to fly onboard the Dragon spacecraft as part of the Demo-2 mission to and from the International Space Station, which will return human spaceflight to the United States since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.
In preparation for Demo-2, SpaceX has completed a number of milestones for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. In March 2019, SpaceX completed an end-to-end test flight of Crew Dragon without NASA astronauts onboard, making Dragon the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station and safely return to Earth.
In January 2020, SpaceX demonstrated Crew Dragon’s in-flight launch escape capability to carry crew to safety in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or at any point during ascent.
SpaceX has completed 700 tests of the spacecraft’s SuperDraco engines, which fired together at full throttle can power Dragon 0.5 miles away from Falcon 9 in 7.5 seconds, accelerating the vehicle more than 400 mph.
SpaceX has completed 26 tests of Crew Dragon’s enhanced Mark 3 parachute design, which will provide a safe landing back on Earth for astronauts returning from the Space Station. These tests include 13 successful single parachute drop tests, 12 successful multi-parachute tests, and a successful demonstration of the upgraded parachute system during Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort test.
NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi have been assigned to fly on Dragon’s first six-month operational mission (Crew-1) targeted for later this year.