In less than an hour, two NASA astronauts are scheduled to take spacecraft on billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). This is the second launch attempt after the first attempt failed on Thursday due to bad weather.
At 22.22 Bulgarian time, the world is expected to see how, for the first time in history, a private company takes people into space.
If the mission is successful, it will be the first to send US astronauts to the ISS from US soil since the space shuttle program closed in 2011. Since then, US astronauts have used Russian “transport” to the space station in orbit.
The 500-ton SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule on top is to take off from the same place where the legendary Apollo 11 began to the moon – the historic Complex 39A of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The two astronauts are 49-year-old Bob Benken and 53-year-old Doug Hurley.
Falcon 9 is a two-part rocket. After take-off, its first segment separates and lands. The second, higher segment takes the Dragon capsule into orbit.
The rocket must take off at 23.22 Bulgarian time to “catch” the ISS, which passes at about 27,000 km / h into orbit. Falcon 9 has a capacity of 5747 aircraft.
19 hours after entering orbit, the SpaceX Dragon must dock with the International Space Station.
SpaceX is a company that started as a startup in 2002. It was founded by Elon Musk, who is also the head of the company that produces Tesla cars. As is well known, he has the ambition to travel to Mars. The flight scheduled for tonight is defined as the basis for the development of space tourism.
The BBC writes that the success of SpaceX and NASA would be a new stage in human space travel, because it opens the door for companies to sell “taxis” -transport to governments or anyone who wants to buy the service.
NASA has given $ 3.1 billion to SpaceX and $ 4.5 billion to Boeing to develop space capsules. However, the Boeing CST-100 Starliner capsule is not expected to send the first team into space by 2021.