Cape Canaveral, Florida — For the first time, NASA relies on SpaceX rockets and capsules recycled for its crew.
Astronaut Megan MacArthur is particularly pleased with the reusable spacecraft soaring Thursday morning. With a “fun twist,” she sits in the same seat in the same capsule that her husband Bob Behnken made for a test flight to the International Space Station last spring.
“It’s a kind of fun we can share. I can look at him and say,” Hey, can you give me the key. I’m ready to go now. ” She said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.
Their seven-year-old son, Theo, is becoming a pro at the launch of his parents, but MacArthur said “he’s not so excited” about her death for six months. It’s the time she and her three crew members spend at the space station.
This will be SpaceX’s third crew flight within a year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to NASA. Commercial flight ended US reliance on Russian rockets launched from Kazakhstan to allow astronauts to enter and leave the space station after the shuttle retired.
SpaceX’s Benji Reed said Tuesday that a private company had already put six people into space. This is the same number that NASA’s Project Mercury did in the early 1960s when it launched the first Americans. On the next flight, that number will increase to 10.
Some highlights of SpaceX flights:
Use, recycle, repeat
Both the Dragon Capsule and the Falcon Rocket in this mission once soared. The capsule launched the first SpaceX crew last May, and the rocket lifted a second astronaut still at the space station. For SpaceX, recycling is the key to space exploration, reducing costs, increasing flights and destinations, and allowing more types of people to board, Reed said. Each capsule is designed to fire at least 5 times with the crew. SpaceX and NASA evaluate the number of times the Falcon can safely launch an astronaut. For satellites, the Falcon can be used for 10 flights. The company uses similar capsules to supply stations of the same type of rocket and recycles them as well.
US-French Japanese crew
This is SpaceX’s most internationally diverse crew ever. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbro (former Army Colonel) is a spacecraft commander, piloted by oceanographer MacArthur. Former Air France pilot Thomas Pesche represents the European Space Agency. Engineer Akihiko Hoshide has worked for the Japanese space agency for nearly 30 years and has helped build the space station. Everyone except MacArthur has already visited an outpost 260 miles high (420 kilometers high). However, she ventured 100 miles (160 km) higher on the Space Shuttle and participated in NASA’s last Hubble Space Telescope mission in 2009. The four started a new recycling rocket tradition for the SpaceX crew and wrote initials on the booster soot.
As French and Japanese astronauts fly together, the diet promises to reach new heights. Hoshide sells curry rice, canned fish, and yakitori (grilled chicken and skewers), but not sushi. At Pesque, Michelin-starred chefs have created French cuisine such as beef with red wine and mushroom sauce, truffle potatoes and onion tarts, and almond tarts with caramel pears. There is also a crepe suzette. Pesche said there was “national pressure” to skip French cuisine last weekend. His crew also had great expectations. “OK, we are flying with the French.
Come & go
Five days after the crew arrived at the space station, one Japanese and three American astronauts who had been there since November will return home with a strap on the SpaceX capsule. NASA wants to spend some time in orbit between the two crew members, so newcomers can benefit from the experience of their colleagues there. SpaceX is targeting a splashdown on April 28 in the Gulf of Mexico off Tallahassee, Florida. The company has already consulted with the Coast Guard to prevent pleasure boats from flocking to the area, such as the first SpaceX crew splashdown in August. More Coast Guard vessels will patrol this time.
Space “sexy” again
As France’s Pesche sees, US and European space agencies may be cool, but SpaceX is even cooler. “I think they did a really good job. I made manned spaceflight sexy again. Sometimes people hate me saying that, but that’s a kind of truth. And it’s not that easy.” He told AP in a recent interview. Bring a rocket, capsule, seagull-winged Tesla and a color-adjusted, white and black-trimmed SpaceX spacesuit that will be used to bring the astronauts to the launch pad. Good-looking is important to SpaceX, and Pesche says it’s “reasonable to pay” for the general public to be enthusiastic about space travel.