Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, two former astronauts who participated in the spacecraft program that stopped in 2011, will depart from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 27.
If the mission succeeds, the United States will achieve its goal of no need for Russian “Soyuz” missiles to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station. It is also an important stage in the new economic model of the US space agency. NASA has spent billions in contracts with both SpiceX and Boeing to develop vehicles that will each have to make six round trips to the International Space Station.
This model is supposed to spare taxpayers from gaps in previous programs that have not yet been implemented, especially the giant space launch system missile that would return NASA to the moon, but it is steeped in the problems of cost overruns and delays in its completion.
NASA President Jim Braidenstein told reporters that the Crew Dragon spacecraft will be the fifth US spacecraft to carry humans into orbit, after the programs of Mercury, Jiminay, Apollo and Spice Shuttle.
“Globally, this will be the ninth time in history that we place humans in an entirely new spacecraft,” he added.
“We will do so amid the outbreak of the epidemic (Covid-19). I will tell you that this is a mission of great priority to the United States of America.” NASA said that Behnken and Hurley, who had been training for the “Dimo 2” mission for years, would join the International Space Station and would stay there For a period ranging from one to four months, according to the date of the next mission, as Steve Stitch of the US Agency explained. “Crowe Dragon” can stay in orbit for four months (119 days).
Hurley, who pioneered the recent Spacecraft mission, admitted that it was “disappointing” that the launch would not take place in public, as people were invited not to gather at Cape Canaveral to watch the event.
This mission is a major event for SpiceX, which was founded by Elon Musk, director and founder of Tesla Corporation. His company, established in 2002, bypassed Boeing, which failed in a similar but unmanned mission carried out by its spacecraft “Star Liner” last year. It will have to start again.
SpaceX, which has received billions of dollars from NASA since the late 2000s, has been providing the International Space Station with supplies and equipment since 2012 and has established itself as a pioneer in the private space sector thanks to its reusable Falcon 9 missile.
“I will feel some relief when they are in orbit and I will feel more comfortable when they arrive at the International Space Station, and I will obviously regain the ability to sleep when they return safely to Earth,” said Gwen Shotwell, chief operating officer of the company.
Of course, the epidemic affected the program, but Shotwell said that every precaution had been taken to protect the astronauts.
The launch is scheduled for May 27 and will dock with the International Space Station after about 19 hours.