APR 19, 2020 4:31 AM PDT

NASA Pegs Official Launch Date for First Crewed SpaceX Flight

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Those who’ve been following the hype shared by both NASA and SpaceX during the past couple of years would know that the two have been working extraordinarily closely to achieve something that hasn’t happened since the Space Shuttle era. That is, to end our dependence on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft and to launch astronauts into space from American soil once more.

Just this past week, NASA and SpaceX reached a substantial milestone in their partnership. The American space agency announced an official launch date for the first ever crewed commercial space launch U.S. history. On Wednesday, May 27th, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule will loft two American astronauts into outer space and then ferry them to the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA

Related: SpaceX’s Starship will be a game-changer for deep space travel

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine shared the announcement via Twitter Friday afternoon, adding that Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley would be the lucky duo of astronauts taking part in setting this amazing precedent.

These astronauts be participating in the first-ever crewed demonstration mission on SpaceX’s behalf. In doing so, they will be demonstrating the safety and capabilities of the commercial space company’s Crew Dragon system from beginning to end and proving once and for all to NASA that the platform is viable for transporting astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is poised to take place at Florida’s Launch Complex 39A at approximately 4:32 P.M. Eastern time on the aforementioned date (Wednesday, May 27th). Within approximately 24 hours after launch, the spacecraft should autonomously dock with the International Space Station, allowing the two astronauts to join the recent arrivals including NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of Expedition 63.

It remains to be seen how long the astronauts will remain at the International Space Station, however the Crew Dragon that will be used for this demonstration mission is purportedly capable of spending 110 days in outer space whereas the final product should last 210 days in outer space. When the mission ends, two astronauts will return home in the same Crew Dragon capsule used to send astronauts to the International Space Station; hence beginning to end.                                                

Originally, NASA didn’t plan for SpaceX’s first crewed mission to dock with the International Space Station, but rather for it to visit outer space and then return home. The change of plan appears to be exacerbated by time constraints and the demand for access to American launches sooner rather than later.

Related: Just how reusable is SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket?

NASA’s other Commercial Crew contractor, Boeing, may not see its first crewed spaceflight until sometime next year. If everything goes according to plan, then the United States will see a new era of independence in terms of spaceflight.

Source: NASA, Jim Bridenstine/Twitter

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How the Hubble Space Telescope Transformed Astronomy
MAY 03, 2020
How the Hubble Space Telescope Transformed Astronomy
The Hubble Space Telescope has officially spent three decades in outer space, making it one of the most renowned space o ...
JUL 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Star Cluster Born Outside of Our Galaxy is Discovered in the Milky Way
JUL 13, 2020
Star Cluster Born Outside of Our Galaxy is Discovered in the Milky Way
Scientists have reported the discovery of a vast stream of stars called Nyx in the vicinity of the sun.
JUL 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
JUL 18, 2020
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
New images from the Solar Orbiter, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that launched in Feb ...
AUG 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
AUG 02, 2020
In a Rare Event, Massive Star Disappears Without a Supernova
Astronomers were studying a massive star in the Kinman Dwarf Galaxy from 2001 to 2011. When they went back in 2019 to lo ...
AUG 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
AUG 22, 2020
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
Researchers from Ohio State University have theorized that there may be more rogue planets (planets that don't orbit ...
SEP 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
New Drug May Allow Astronauts to Spend Years in Space
SEP 08, 2020
New Drug May Allow Astronauts to Spend Years in Space
Without gravity from Earth, muscles and bones tend to weaken quickly. To combat this, astronauts usually need to spend t ...
Loading Comments...