It should be the first manned space flight with a rocket that will depart from American soil over the past nine years that organized by NASA with the collaboration of SpaceX.
Indeed, NASA’s top executives have given the green light to a new launch that is expected to take place next week, May 27, with a rocket from the company led by Elon Musk.
The Crew Dragon capsule will be used to transport U.S. astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station, an arrival scheduled for the following day.
The two astronauts have been in quarantine for several weeks, longer than any quarantine normally carried out by astronauts when they have to go into space just because of the pandemic from COVID-19.
For several years, two American astronauts have been training on the controls of the Crew Dragon capsule. It is a spacecraft that presents mostly relatively new touchscreen controls compared to the many buttons and levers of the capsules used by the Americans until the early 2000s to arrive on the international space station.
Once the two astronauts are transported on the ISS, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch into the ocean slowed by four parachutes. The Crew Dragon boasts eight SuperDraco engines that are mounted on the side and can dock independently to the ISS.
Currently the International Space Station is home to two Russian and one American astronauts, who arrived on the ISS thanks to Russian Soyuz rockets. Precisely these Russian spacecrafts have been the only ones capable of transporting astronauts to the International Space Station for nine years following NASA’s provision of the national space shuttle program.
Now, should the mission with the SpaceX spacecraft succeed, American astronauts will no longer have to resort to Russian spacecraft to get to the ISS.