SpaceX canceled the launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. The ship was supposed to fly to the International Space Station, but 17 minutes before the launch, the launch was postponed to May 30 due to bad weather conditions – fog and low cloud cover.
Thus, the first launch of people into space, carried out by the private SpaceX company, was postponed for three days or, if the flight could not be completed on Saturday, then for four days.
The flight program assumes that the Crew Dragon ship will fly to the space station at about 19 hours. Then the most critical part of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, on which the life of astronauts depends, will be the docking of the ship with the station. It will be carried out in automatic mode, but in case of problems the crew can take control. You can try to dock the ship with the station in a special simulator that runs directly in the browser.
Captain Doug Hurley will be responsible for the flight. Bob Benken, Commander in Joint Operations with the ISS, will take responsibility for docking the Crew Dragon with the space station. Astronauts already have experience – they already participated in two space flights. They were the first astronauts to set off on a mission in SpaceX branded spacesuits.
The mission to send astronauts to the ISS inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft will undoubtedly go down in history. This is the first time in history when the sending of astronauts to a space station is entrusted to a private company. Until 2011, the sending of people into Earth orbit was carried out on American Space Shuttle ships. Then the program was closed, and the astronauts had to be delivered to the Russian Soyuz.
Successful sending of astronauts on the SpaceX ship will mean that Roskosmos will lose its contracts with NASA. Recently, each state-owned astronaut sent to the ISS earned $ 80 million each, but now its services will simply not be needed. However, in April 2020, the head of Roskosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, announced that they were ready to reduce the cost of space launches by a third.
In the event of a successful launch, American astronauts will be delivered to the station inside the Crew Dragon ship, which will be launched into orbit by the reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Each launch will cost SpaceX $ 62 million, while the launch of Russian Soyuz-FG and Soyuz- 2.1A ”costs from 35 to 45 million dollars. However, the SpaceX rocket is capable of lifting payloads weighing up to 25 tons, while Russian missiles lift a maximum of 8 tons of cargo.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft holds up to 7 astronauts and can remain docked to the station for more than 210 days. It is already known that Bob Benken and Doug Hurley will spend 30 to 119 days on the International Space Station. Then they will return to Earth.
If the docking with the ISS is successful, NASA certifies Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon for manned space flights. In general, the Boeing company with its Starliner project could be in place of SpaceX. Since 2014, it has been SpaceX who competed in the race for partnership with NASA. At first she was the leader, but in 2019 she was left behind – in March, the Crew Dragon device successfully docked to the station. Starliner attempted to dock in December, but the mission failed.
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