SpaceX Crew Dragon, 4 astronauts take off to space station


After a one-day delay, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was launched on Friday, boosting the Crew Dragon capsule. Carry four astronauts Get in orbit for a day trip to the International Space Station.

Takeoff from Kennedy Space Center Pad 39A took off on time at 5:49 EST, with automatic rendezvous and docking set up at the space station early Saturday.

SpaceX “Crew 2” flights only mark the third launch The number of NASA astronauts from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle 10 years ago. This is the second operational flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the first flight to make a second flight using a previously flown First Stage Booster and a refurbished Crew Dragon Capsule.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will take off from the Kennedy Space Center early in the morning of April 23, 2021.  / Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will take off from the Kennedy Space Center early in the morning of April 23, 2021. / Credit: NASA TV

The Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon are at the heart of NASA’s goal to end its sole reliance on Russia for astronauts on the Soyuz spacecraft with seats up to $ 90 million on the ferry. And reusability “absolutely lowers costs,” NASA’s deputy administrator Steve Jurczyk told CBS News.

“We went through a fairly thorough process at SpaceX, reviewed what was needed to refurbish these systems, conducted an engineering review and confirmed that they could fly safely. I think the team did a great job. “”

Commander Shane Kimbro, Megan McArthur, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Peske, and Akihiko Hoshide were scheduled to take off on Thursday, but strong winds and rough waves along the northeastern flight path of Crew Dragon were on Wednesday. Prompted by the mission manager Order a 24-hour delay.

The weather was actually bad on Thursday, but Friday’s forecast requires 90% chance of good conditions and gentle winds and waves at the launch site along the track from Florida’s east coast to the North Atlantic. was. Crew members may be forced to dig a ditch in the event of a launch emergency.

But if all goes well as expected, a crew dragon capsule carrying MacArthur’s husband, the astronaut. Bob BehnkenWas put into orbit in May last year and will be put into orbit to fly on its own about 12 minutes after takeoff.

Kimbro and the company, all space veterans, configure the ship for orbital flight, monitor the launch of the first thruster in a computer-controlled rendezvous sequence, and then call at 2:00 pm. Docking at the port ahead of the space station is scheduled for 5:10 am. Saturday.

Waiting to welcome Crew 2 astronauts are Soyuz MS-18 / 64S commanders Oleg Nowitzki, Pyotr Dubrov, and NASA astronaut Mark, who were launched at the outpost on April 9. This is Nowitzki. Crew-one astronaut Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.they were Released in November last year In the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon.

With the arrival of Crew 2 astronauts, the lab’s crew will temporarily increase from 7 to 11. This is 2 shy records set during two shuttle visits during station assembly. The outpost has seven bedrooms, two of which are in the Russian segment, five of which are used by NASA and partner astronauts.

This will allow Crew 2 astronauts to “camp out” around the station until Hopkins, Grover, Walker, and Noguchi undock and return to Earth on April 28 to complete a 164-day mission. It will be.

“Some of them are in the dragon’s berth, and in fact two dragons are docked for the first time,” Yurchik said. “And some of them camp out into some modules, so there’s a little bit of camp going on.”

Space Station Commander Walker will hand over the lab to Hoshide, who will be an astronaut at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, before leaving.

All seven crew members are facing a particularly busy six months in space, where multiple EVAs in the United States and Russia are planned. Four cargo ships have arrived, loaded with scientific equipment, crew supplies, spare parts, and new rollout solar array blankets needed to boost the power of the lab. ..

Installing two sets of IROSA solar blankets will require four extravehicular activities planned by NASA, connecting the station with a new Russian experimental module to be launched in mid-July on a powerful proton rocket. Two astronauts are planned to go out for this purpose.

To give way to the new laboratory compartment, the astronaut crew plans to use the attached progress supply ship to dump the station’s Pirs docking and airlock compartments and return them to the atmosphere. After the lab module is docked in place of Pirs, Novitskiy, Dubrov, and Vande Hei strap to Soyuz and fly to dock to the newly arrived lab port.

The Crew 2 astronaut and the Soyuz MS-18 / 64S crew will return to Earth in late September and mid-October, respectively.

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