The end of the SpaceX DM-2 demo space mission, in which two American astronauts went to the ISS on board an American spacecraft for the first time since 2011, is scheduled for early August. However, the private company Elon Musk, as well as the state space agency NASA, have already begun preparations for the first official commercial space mission of the Dragon 2 spacecraft.
Today, the SpaceX DM-2 team, assisting the commander of the ISS-63 expedition, NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy, went into outer space and replaced the solar panels of the International Space Station. At the same time, SpaceX and NASA have announced preparations for the next Crew-1 mission, which will take place as part of the first official commercial manned space launch.
As with the DM-2 mission, the Crew-1 mission will be launched using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. It is scheduled for this fall. The exact launch date will be announced later. NASA today confirmed that on Tuesday July 14, the launch vehicle was delivered to Florida. And after a while, the Dragon 2 ship will join her. It is currently being tested at the agency’s facility in Hawthorne, California.
According to NASA, which held a press conference today, the launch of the new mission will take place just six weeks after a similar Dragon 2 spacecraft from the DM-2 mission returns to Earth. At the time of this announcement, the new Dragon 2 ship for the Crew-1 mission is undergoing propulsion tests as well as valve system testing. After completing these tests, the device is going to be tested in an acoustic chamber. As soon as the tests are completed, the device will be transported to Florida, where it will be installed on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The preparation of the launch vehicle will be carried out at the SpaceX site at the US Air Force base at Cape Canaveral.
Unlike the Dragon 2 spacecraft of the DM-2 mission, which can only dock with the ISS Harmony module, the new Crew-1 spacecraft will be able to dock with other space station modules. Not only American astronauts will go to the ISS as part of the new mission. The crew will include NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Soichi Noguchi, an astronaut from the Japan Space Agency JAXA.
The launch of the launch vehicle with the Dragon 2 spacecraft of the Crew-1 mission will be carried out from the 39th launch complex of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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