KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – Today, Wednesday May 27, 2020 is an historic day for SpaceX and U.S. space travel. Tesla boss Elon Musk is the first commercial company ever to go into space with the Crew Dragon, which will be the first rocket to depart from American soil in 9 years. The launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon at Kennedy Space Center in Florida can be followed live from 4:00 PM (EDT). President Donald Trump will also be present at the launch of the flight into space with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.
Watch history unfold today as NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS). This mission marks the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 that men will fly to the space station from American soil.
The live stream on NASA’s YouTube channel will start today at 12:15 PM (EDT) as NASA and SpaceX provide joint live coverage from launch to arrival at the ISS.
Teams are targeting 4:33 PM (EDT) for the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft – on top of a Falcon 9 rocket – from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Crew Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the ISS tomorrow morning on Thursday, May 28. The spacecraft will subsequently dock to the space station at 11:29 AM (EDT).
Update: Due to bad weather SpaceX’s 1st astronaut launch for NASA is delayed. Liftoff is now set for next Saturday on May 30 at 3:22 PM (EDT).
An enormous progress in comparison to the older NASA rockets is Falcon 9, the rocket that will bring Crew Dragon into orbit – a partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX.
Falcon 9 is powered by Merlin engines – also developed by SpaceX – burning cryogenic liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1) as propellants. Its name is derived from the fictional Star Wars spaceship the Millennium Falcon and the 9 Merlin engines of the rocket’s first stage.
Unlike most rockets – which are expendable launch systems – Falcon 9 is partially reusable,with the first stage capable of re-entering the atmosphere and and landing vertically after separating from the second stage. This was achieved for the first time on flight 20 in December 2015.
SpaceX – the company of Tesla owner Elon Musk – launches the first manned space flight with 2 astronauts, which will be the first time that a commercial organization has done this. It’s not the first time the spacecraft will take flight. The SpaceX’s Crew Dragon made it’s first unmanned demonstration flight on March 2, 2019.
In contrast to previous spacecraft, the astronauts in the Crew Dragon will feel pretty comfortable. The Crew Dragon is a lot more spacious than its predecessors and has comfortable seats. In addition, the rocket is no longer controlled with old-fashioned buttons and switch actuators. These have made way for new, tablet-like screens.
The Crew Dragon is designed to transport up to 4 astronauts for NASA missions – along with critical cargo and supplies – to the ISS as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The spacecraft features solar arrays affixed to the side of its trunk, a launch escape system that will allow crew members to escape an anomaly at any point during flight, a large hatch and windows and a redesigned outer mold line to enhance crew comfort.
One giant step for U.S. Space Travel
Last year’s first unmanned flight was an important step in returning human launches on American rockets and spacecraft to the space station from U.S. soil since the Summer of 2011, when the Space Shuttle made its last flight.
Today NASA and SpaceX is making history with the first manned flight from American soil – with the SpaceX Crew Dragon, after an abscence of 9 years.