Elon Musk’s private spacecraft, the Crewe Dragon, set sail for the International Space Station with astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Benken.
The time of the launch of the Dragon, which was mounted on a Falcon rocket, was set precisely so that the Americans could successfully jump on the ISS, which passes over the Earth at 27,000 km / h.
Houston, we have no problem!
It takes the rocket 8 minutes to go into orbit. The Falcon will then separate, and the Crew Dragon will move to the ISS on its own.
Curiously, the Falcon will land back on Earth on a ship in the ocean so that it can be used again. It is this innovation that makes the difference between the SpaceX launch vehicle and the like.
Nearly 51 years ago, the Apollo 11 mission took off from the Kennedy Space Center, the first to take people to the moon.
Today’s launch is also important for the development of private space transportation, in which companies offer “taxi services” to governments or anyone who wants to use the service.
In the hours before the launch, the astronauts did a “dress rehearsal” and went through all the stages before the cherished moment for NASA, SpaceX and the United States as a whole.
Two minutes and 33 seconds after launch, the first stage of the rocket must be separated, and 10 minutes after that – the second.
In the phase of approaching the ISS, about 19 hours later, at a distance of about 400 meters, the astronauts will check the possibilities of manual control of the ship. Approximately two and a half hours later, the hatch was scheduled to open and the astronauts to leave the station’s ship.
According to a report on the NASA website, the spacecraft may remain in orbit for about 100 days. And the astronauts were dressed in Starman suits, specially made by SpaceX.
Unlike the large, round spacesuits we know from sci-fi movies, SpaceX has come up with a design and efficiency – typically Musk-style.
“For us, this moment is extremely important. The whole country can witness something amazing – for the first time in nine years, American astronauts with an American ship will launch from their home territory to the International Space Station, “said NASA Director Jim Brydenstein at a pre-launch press conference on Tuesday. He said the new US spacecraft would change “the entire procedure for delivering astronauts and ISS cargo.”
If something goes wrong?
In the event of an emergency, rescue vessels are located in various parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
“We turned to the military for help to provide us with divers, helicopters and other equipment that could be involved in a rescue operation,” Braidenstein said.
Since NASA stopped shuttle flights in 2011, American astronauts have been flying to the ISS with Russian Soyuz spacecraft. It was originally assumed that US manned flights would begin in 2017.
The manned ship “Dragon” is a modification of the cargo ship of the same name, which already delivers to the ISS.
Prior to the expected launch of the mission, called “Demo 2”, the astronauts were quarantined for two weeks. They were also given the opportunity to eat breakfast of their choice.
Douglas Hurley and Robert Benken have been training for five years in the state-of-the-art Crewe Dragon capsule. It has an emergency system to rescue astronauts in the event of a rocket problem. Her first test flight with a mannequin instead of a man passed successfully in March 2019.