NASA finally sells astronauts to fly on its Crew Dragon spacecraft, just days before its next launch

SpaceX has been officially certified to launch people into space on the Falcon 9 rocket and to fly the Crew Dragon aboard. It is set to do so on Saturday.

SpaceX is to launch four astronauts on a human-rated commercial spacecraft.

This is not SpaceX’s first human mission. NASA astronauts Bob Behanken and Doug Hurley boarded the company’s crew dragon spacecraft this summer, orbiting the Earth and arriving at the International Space Station. After living and working on the space station for two months, they boarded the Crew Dragon again, screaming through the atmosphere, and safely parachuted back to Earth.

But that whole task was considered a demo – an important step in obtaining NASA’s human-space travel certification.

On Tuesday, NASA announced that it had finally certified the entire launch pad system of SpaceX for human spaceflight.

The decision was the result of the agency’s aircraft-readiness review, in which experts and officials spent two days examining SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, software and mission operations.

The certification came just days before SpaceX’s next scheduled astronaut launch scheduled for Saturday. In preparation for that the company has already loaded a new Crew Dragon on the rocket, which is still long and very important. Elon Musk’s rocket company, known as Crew-1, was the first of six to contract with NASA.

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Crew-1 astronauts sit inside the Crew Dragon during training. From left: Shannon Walker, Victor Clover, Mike Hopkins and Sochi Nokucci.
SpaceX via NASA

“People think it’s just a spacecraft, but it’s a spacecraft, it’s a missile vehicle, it’s all the processes on the ground, how do you do your missions. He told a news conference: “You have shown us the data and we hope you will do it. That fact must be taken into account. “

If weather permits, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch the Crew Dragon into space for ET at 7:49 pm on Saturday. The astronauts on the plane will be Mike Hopkins, Victor Clover, Shannon Walker and Sochi Nokuchi. They have to go to the space station eight and a half hours later, where they will stay for about six months, which marks the longest human spaceflight in American history.

When it comes time to get home, the astronauts will board the Crew Dragon again, which will be attached to the space station while they stay, and then mark the eruption through the Earth’s atmosphere.

“The team’s life is in our hands – a very important responsibility,” Luthers said.

Space X Crew Dragon Spaceship Demo 1 Demo 1 Parachutes Splash Down Atlantic Ocean Cape Canaveral Florida NASA KSC 20190308 PH_CSH01_0192_orig
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, led by four parachutes, splashes across the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida on March 8, 2019.
Corey Houston / NASA

This is the first time NASA has certified a human aviation organization since the space shuttle program began nearly 40 years ago. The decision marks the culmination of 10 years of development and testing funded by NASA’s Business Group Project, which was created to restore the United States’ human-space travel capabilities through a business partnership. The government has spent more than $ 6 billion on that effort Planetary Association. With Saturday’s launch the program may finally realize its goal.

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Elon Musk celebrates May 30 after the launch of SpaceX by NASA astronauts Bob Behanken and Doug Hurley from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
REUTERS / Steve Nacius

“Thanks to SpaceX and NASA for their continued support for the partnership in achieving this goal,” Musk said. News release. “I can not be proud of everyone on SpaceX and all of our suppliers who worked incredibly hard to build, test and fly the first commercial human spaceflight system in NASA certified history. Our effort. “

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