Thus the campaign materializes .LaunchAmerica promoted by Nasa and strongly supported by the US president Donald Trump, who is expected together with his deputy Mike Pence at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to attend the event announced as epochal. “This is a unique time when all Americans can stop for a moment and watch the country make something stunning again,” said NASA chief administrator. Jim Bridenstine, in the latest press conference a few hours after launch. “This room is now almost empty,” he said referring to anti-Covid measures, “but for this occasion we would have liked to have seen it full of journalists and fans of space.”
The stages – After passing the last final exam, the NASA and Space X mission called Demo-2 received the ‘go’ signal that gives the final go-ahead for the launch. The only unknown remains that of the weather: forecasts estimate a probability of 60% of favorable conditions. If clouds and rainfall upset the plans a few minutes from the X hour, the launch could be postponed to Saturday or Sunday.
The Crew Dragon shuttle will depart with the American Falcon 9 rocket from the historic 39A launch complex, built for the Apollo missions and also used for the Space Shuttle.
The absolute protagonists will be the two American astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, who not surprisingly will wear spacesuits designed by the costume designer of Hollywood superheroes Jose Fernandez. Their mission will begin with 19 hours of flight to the ISS: once on board, they will join the three colleagues of Expedition 63 (the American Chris Cassidy and the Russians Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner) for a variable time that can go from one at four months.
The return, which will end with a dip in the Atlantic ocean, will be scheduled based on the conditions of the shuttle, the weather and the progress of preparations for the next mission, Crew-1, the first operational. “Remember that Demo-2 is a flight test,” said Bridenstine. “The priority is to test the vehicle and bring it home safely to be ready for the launch of Crew-1.”
A curiosity: 24 minutes after the launch the shuttle will pass over Europe and for about a minute it will also be visible from Italy.