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
JUL 21, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Very first discovered exoplanet that orbits pulsar might be uncommon
JUL 21, 2022
Very first discovered exoplanet that orbits pulsar might be uncommon
Astronomers from the University of Manchester have recently presented a study at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 202 ...
JUL 29, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Distant Rotating Galaxy was Formed 13.3 billion years ago
JUL 29, 2022
The Most Distant Rotating Galaxy was Formed 13.3 billion years ago
MACS1149-JD1, aka JD1, is a galaxy about 13.3 billion years away from us, meaning the light from that galaxy takes 13.3 ...
AUG 05, 2022
Space & Astronomy
First Detection of a Compact, Massive Triple Star System
AUG 05, 2022
First Detection of a Compact, Massive Triple Star System
Two researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen are studying an usually compact system of th ...
SEP 09, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
SEP 09, 2022
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
In an array of studies, one published in Science Advances and two published in Science, a large international team of re ...
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Supercomputer Divulges Immediate Formation of Moon
OCT 18, 2022
Supercomputer Divulges Immediate Formation of Moon
Numerous theories have evolved over the years as to how the Earth’s Moon came to be, with one early theory suggest ...
NOV 10, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Hey Star, Want to Look Younger? Get Yourself a Hot Jupiter!
NOV 10, 2022
Hey Star, Want to Look Younger? Get Yourself a Hot Jupiter!
A new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society finds that “hot Jupiter” exop ...
Loading Comments...