As if this weren’t enough, much of the mission’s success will be in the hands of SpaceX, the aerospace company private of the eclectic Elon Musk who, in collaboration with NASA, for the first time in its history it will send a human crew on board the Crew Dragon spacecraft directed to the ISS, the International Space Station.
May 27, 2020 therefore becomes a very important day in aerospace history, because more than America’s “recovery” of Earth’s orbit, will mark the future in the development of the private aerospace industry that never before has he had so much responsibility in the countless missions carried out so far.
So here’s what you need to know to follow the Demo-2 mission live which will take the two American astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the ISS in orbit around Earth.
When and where to see the SpaceX Demo-2 mission
The mission is called Demo-2, e the alarm clocks are to be set at 22:33 Italian on Wednesday 27 May. If things go wrong, the next backup launches have already been set for Saturday May 30th at 9:22 pm and Sunday May 31st at 9:00 pm. It will be possible to follow the launch live by connecting to this page of the SpaceX website. The event will also be available on streaming on YouTube, both on the SpaceX channel and on the NASA channel.
The Commercial Crew Dragon, when NASA and private individuals began to talk
NASA astronauts starring the mission are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. NASA’s collaboration is embedded in its own program called the Commercial Crew Program (CCP). As the name suggests, NASA stands out with the CCP the goal of sharing efforts with some private companies to carry out human transport in space that it is safe, reliable and above all convenient.
The program kicked off in 2010 with a $ 50 million NASA investment that already involved Jeff Bezos’ SpaceX, Boeing and also Blue Origin, as well as other aerospace companies that joined the following year.
In 2015 NASA also provided four astronauts to help Boeing and SpaceX to develop their flight systems. Collaboration that in 2016 also led to the development and installation of the International Docking Adapter (IDA) which will serve to accommodate Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.
The Demo-2 mission plan
Behnken and Hurley will be on board the Crew Dragon, the spacecraft made specifically by SpaceX to carry up to 7 passengers in Earth orbit, including the subsequent return, using the power of 16 Draco engines.
However, the Crew Dragon will only be able to reach space thanks to the rocket, the famous Falcon 9, also produced by SpaceX: the only two-stage rocket capable of landing on Earth and being able to be reused for subsequent missions. A feature that, apart from its technological value, is important for reducing the costs of space missions.
Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon on top, which will have Behnken and Hurley on board, will depart from the 39A Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida.
The mission part of the Countdown will begin 45 minutes before the actual launch scheduled at 22:33 on May 27, during which the activities that will lead to the actual “liftoff” of Falcon 9 will take place.
Just 58 seconds after launch, the rocket will reach MAX Q, the point of trajectory and speed at which Falcon 9 will reach the maximum mechanical stress peak of the whole mission. After about 2 minutes and 30 seconds the first and second stages will be separated, while after almost 9 minutes the first stage of Falcon 9 will ignite the rockets to land on the navedrone called “Of Course I Still Love You”, off Cape Canaveral .
Returning further into space, after about 12 minutes the Crew Dragon will be freed from the embrace of the spinner, continuing at a speed of about 27,000 km / h in the direction of the ISS. The Crew Dragon will complete approximately two “rounds around the Earth” before aligning with the ISS and proceeding with the docking phase that will lead Behnken and Hurley to become part of the 63rd Space Station Expedition.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft used for Demo-2 was designed to remain in orbit about 110 days, but the overall duration of the mission has not already been predetermined and will be established on the station based on the availability of the next commercial launch with crew. In any case, it is possible that the Crew Dragon can hold on to the ISS for 210 days.
If everything goes as it should, then, after an indefinite time on board the ISS, Behnken and Hurley will return to Earth using the same Crew Dragon with which they arrived. It will take them 12 minutes to “fall back” on the planet, ending their adventure with ditching near the Atlantic coast of Florida.