Only a couple of days left before the plannedOn May 27, the SpaceX Crew Dragon manned spacecraft launches. The launch of astronauts by a private space company will mark a new level in space exploration and will be the first manned flight to launch from the United States in many years after the Space Shuttle program closed in 2011.
Preparatory for the launch of the launch vehicle andthe spacecraft work is almost complete. The company's official Twitter posted images of Crew Dragon and Falcon 9, placed in a hangar at Launch Complex 39A launch complex at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The composition of the first crew in almost ten yearsa spacecraft starting from the United States was announced two years ago in 2018. Crew Dragon will be piloted by Robert Benken (49 years old) and Douglas Hurley (53 years old). Both astronauts have already visited space twice, participating in expeditions under the Space Shuttle program.
It is noteworthy that it was Hurley who participated inthe last Space Shuttle mission - 135 on the Atlantis ship from July 8-21, 2011. He made another flight as part of the crew on the STS-127 expedition in July 2009. Benken, in turn, participated in two missions on the Endeavor ship - STS-123 (March 2008) and STS-130 (February 2010) as a flight specialist (six spacewalks).
Both astronauts arrived at Kennedy Spaceport 20May 2020 and will hold the final pre-launch training to test the spacesuits. Then, before flying without a clear indication of the duration of the mission, they will be awakened with the family for some time. While it is known that the maximum flight time should not exceed 119 days, after which the Crew Dragon solar panels will begin to lose working capacity. The minimum flight time is limited to one month.
Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon are vertical on the launch pad pic.twitter.com/2nw9h0jxde
- SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 21, 2020
The pictures on Twitter SpaceX shows that next toready for launch, Crew Dragon has placed three more Falcon 9 rocket launchers, which are already being prepared for the next launches, one of which is associated with the launch of the Columbus GPS III satellite into space (order of the US Air Force for $ 96.5 million). Two more Falcons with numbers B1051 and B1059 are the first steps restored after launches.
In the days remaining until the launch, the ship withthe launch vehicle will be delivered to the launch pad and standard static fire tests will be conducted there. Then, under the leadership of one of the leaders of NASA Steve Yurchik, the mission will be tested for readiness, and Benken and Hurley will complete the final training to simulate the entire launch process. All tests and tests will be completed by May 25, two days before the expected launch on May 27.
Traditionally for the American space program, the startThe ship will be broadcast live on the NASA website and on the SpaceX YouTube channel. Earlier, the launch of the Falcon Heavy superheavy rocket attracted an audience of 2.3 million people on YouTube, which was the second broadcast of the service by the number of simultaneous viewers.
Crew Dragon mission accomplished during implementationand the NASA Commercial Crew Program, if successful, will allow the United States to independently send astronauts into space to the ISS, without involving Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In addition to increasing its reputation, NASA will achieve great savings, since one place in Russian missiles costs $ 80 million, and Elon Musk takes only $ 20 million from his compatriots, subject to a further reduction in price after the repeated launches of Crew Dragon.