Trump heads to golf course, says will attend space launch

Epoch Times

American astronauts have been flying to the ISS, which now houses two Russians and one American, on Russian rockets since the USA space shuttle program was shelved in 2011 after three decades of service.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are being prepared for a historic Demo-2 mission on Wednesday, which will launch NASA astronauts into space from USA soil for the first time since 2011. The specific duration of the mission is to be determined. Boeing, as we've all seen, has had a rough couple of years, and it wasn't long before SpaceX was the clear frontrunner to deliver on its promise to NASA. During the follow-up news conference, SpaceX's Director of Crew Mission Management, Benji Reed, stated that the go for launch is permission to proceed in the launch sequence, but "really it's a go to the mission", referring to the fact that Demo-2 is an extended exercise of SpaceX's entire human spaceflight system.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida awaiting their launch, scheduled on May 27. He flew into space with STS-123 in 2008 and STS-130 in 2010. Born in St. Anne, Missouri, he has bachelor's degrees in physics and mechanical engineering from Washington University and earned a master's and doctorate in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology.

"We're asking people not to travel to the Kennedy Space Center, and I will tell you, that makes me sad to even say it", Bridenstine said at a May 1 media briefing about the mission, saying that he was concerned that a mass gathering could spread COVID-19. He had been selected for the astronaut programme by Nasa in 2000.

Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for Demo-2, responsible for activities such as launch, landing, and recovery. The New York native was born in Endicott but considers Apalachin his hometown. Before joining NASA, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. He noted that SpaceX tweaked the Crew Dragon's design after last year's successful uncrewed demonstration flight to the space station, to address a potential collision risk that the Russians called to attention. SpaceX will fly six operational crewed missions to the ISS under the deal. In about 24 hours, Crew Dragon will be in position to rendezvous and dock with the space station. The spacecraft is created to do this autonomously but astronauts aboard the spacecraft and the station will be diligently monitoring approach and docking and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary. The capsule was tested in January.

Epoch Times
Trump to visit Florida for SpaceX launch with NASA astronauts

The Commercial Crew program was born out of NASA's desire to speed up the development and testing of crew-capable spacecraft without having to do most of the work.

After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew. In addition, they will carry out research and other tasks with the ISS crew.

The standard practice joint FRR that occurs ahead of any crew launch comes after a series of previously held independent specialized reviews - such an engineering review of the Crew Dragon capsule and a flight test rate review led by Kathy Lueders and the Commercial Crew Program team.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken ahead of leaving for Kennedy Space Centre.

Upon conclusion of the mission, Crew Dragon will autonomously undock with Behnken and Hurley on board, depart the ISS and once again re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Upon splashdown just off Florida's Atlantic Coast, the crew will be picked up at sea by SpaceX's Go Navigator recovery vessel and return to Cape Canaveral.



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