JUN 01, 2020 3:12 PM PDT

Why SpaceX's Demo-2 Launch This Past Weekend Was So Significant

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you somehow managed to miss the exciting news this past weekend, NASA and SpaceX set an important precedent in American spaceflight history after astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley blasted off on the much-anticipated Demo-2 mission from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

This launch was particularly significant because it was the first time American astronauts launched from U.S. soil since the Space Shuttle era nearly a decade ago, and it was also the first time that a commercial space vehicle ferried NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Before this weekend, NASA depended heavily on Russia and its Soyuz platform to make this happen, but this successful launch demonstration could make SpaceX into one of NASA’s preferred space launch contractors going forward.

But why is this such a big deal in the first place? After all, can’t we just continue to work with Russia to send astronauts to space? Yes, and no; it comes down to price. When NASA initially had the capability to send astronauts into space themselves, the price tag was around $20-30 million per seat. That amount has steadily increased to more than $80 million per seat today, whereas SpaceX will only charge $55 million per seat initially with an expected decay to around $10-20 million per seat in the future.

Digressing aside, SpaceX’s Demo-2 launch transpired just after 3 P.M. Eastern Time on Saturday as a result of unfavorable weather condition delays the Wednesday prior, and it was followed by a successful International Space Station docking the following Sunday morning. It wasn’t long after the Behnken and Hurley joined the existing crew members in space.

It’s worth noting that this wasn’t SpaceX’s first time flying to the International Space Station – it was merely the first time that one of the commercial space company’s capsules had living human beings inside. SpaceX has flown literally dozens of cargo missions to the International Space Station previously, and so some might say that the company has had quite a bit of practice with docking its Dragon spacecraft to the station.

It will indeed be interesting to see how spaceflight transforms going forward as a result of this success, as we still have yet to see Boeing’s crewed demonstration mission. As it would seem, the private sector offers a lot of benefits over first-party development, as it appears to be capable of making bigger things happen for less money.

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
JAN 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 27, 2020
How Dangerous is Radiation on Mars?
One of humankind’s most ambitious goals for the next decade is preparing to send astronauts to Mars for the very f ...
FEB 11, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 11, 2020
Why China Was Banned from the International Space Station
The International Space Station is just that – a place where international space agencies can work together in an ...
APR 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 05, 2020
These Incredible Concepts Could Get Astronauts to Mars Sooner
The idea of putting humans on Mars for first-time exploration isn’t too far-fetched. Space agencies and large comm ...
APR 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 26, 2020
Can Planets Be Larger Than Their Host Stars?
When you look at the confines of our solar system and notice just how large the Sun is when compared to Jupiter, the lar ...
MAY 01, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 01, 2020
Giant elliptical galaxies are not likely to hold intelligent life
A previous paper published in 2015 theorized that giant elliptical galaxies would be 10,000 times more likely than spira ...
MAY 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 18, 2020
Top Secret Military X-37B Space Plane Heads Back to Outer Space
Not much is known about the United States’ Space Force’s top-secret X-37B military space plane apart from th ...
Loading Comments...