In the spring of 2020, SpaceX intends tosend two astronauts to the International Space Station aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX recently completed tests that showed that in the event of an accident, the Crew Dragon capsule could deliver astronauts to a safe place. The test is part of NASA's Commercial Crew, a joint program between the space agency and private spacecraft companies that can deliver astronauts to and from the ISS.
New era of US space flights
Since 2011, after the completion of the mission “Space”shuttle ”, NASA buys seats on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz to send astronauts to the ISS. However, these places are becoming more expensive: one round-trip seat now costs NASA about 85 million dollars. Therefore, the space agency launched its Commercial Crew program to stimulate the development of new American-made spacecraft. The NASA and SpaceX joint program is designed for just that.
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Astronauts Bob Benke and Doug Hurley who will becomethe first people sent into space aboard a private spacecraft hope that their flight marks a new era of US space flights. Business Insider writes that Boeng is also building a spacecraft under the Commercial Crew program, but SpaceX will still be the first.
Recall that during the recent tests of SpaceXlaunched one of its Falcon 9 rockets and intentionally detonated it. This was the last step in the long process of testing the Crew Dragon A capsule, designed to deliver astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Read more about this exciting event in our special material.
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Besides the obvious technological progress,NASA's Commercial Crew program benefits US economy. Private companies are now competing for billions of dollars in government contracts, and SpaceX and Boeing have come first.
How is the preparation for the historic flight going?
In total, Benke and Hurley work with each other.a friend for twenty years, and have been preparing for the spring flight since 2018. They also advised SpaceX on the development of the Crew Dragon internal system, as crew safety is a top priority for any space mission. Preparation for the flight includes intensive training before the flight, as well as trial training on the day of launch. Both men told The Atlantic that they were looking forward to being sent to the ISS in a new spaceship. At the moment, they have already been trained to work with the mechanisms of the spacecraft, tried on new spacesuits and met with the head of SpaceX during the test of the Crew Dragon rescue capsule.