At first scheduled for May 27 and then postponed due to bad weather, the Crew Dragon liftoff successfully happened last 30 May from the historical Cape Canaveral platform 39A, the same from which the crews of the Apollo and Shuttle missions departed. Returning to fly astronauts from US soil, NASA has it regain autonomy from Russian Soyuz, until recently the only taxi available for the Iss. And he finally kicked off a new paradigm of space history, that of commercial human flight.
Demo-2 is however considered one test mission, and the original plan was to make it last a couple of weeks at most. However, NASA had already decided to extend this time window, given that the accumulation of delays in the commercial program risked leaving the agency running out of astronauts on Iss. In any case, the duration of Demo-2 had remained undefined. An anomaly with respect to the precise roadmap of the missions on the space house – an exception necessary to evaluate the functioning of the Crew Dragon in orbit.
10 days after launch, the SpaceX spacecraft (currently docked at Iss) is behaving as expected. “Dragon is in excellent condition,” he said Ken Bowersox to the members of the two national committees – and therefore we think it is reasonable that the crew remain up there for a month or two».
The associate administrator then added that this extension will allow Bob Behnken is Chris Cassidy, commander of theExpedition 63, to carry out important extravehicular activities. Both astronauts have a long experience of space walking, and in the coming weeks they may be in charge of replace some batteries in the refueling system outside the station. These activities should be completed by the end of July. “In about two months from now – Bowersox concluded – we will begin to think of bringing Doug and Bob home”. The two astronauts brought into orbit by SpaceX therefore do not yet have a return date, but everything indicates that their stay on the Iss will last precisely until August.
Once Demo-2 is over, NASA will be able to concentrate on Crew-1, the first fully operational mission in collaboration with the Elon Musk company. The launch is currently scheduled for August 30, and will bring the members of theExpedition 64 Shannon Walker, Victor Glover Jr. is Mike Hopkins of NASA e Soichi Noguchi of Jaxa. The Crew Dragon will thus become in all respects the second means of transport for the ISS beyond the Soyuz, while waiting for the public-private alliance in the space sector to overcome the low orbit.