Today’s launch was scrubbed due to weather. While disappointing to get postponed, it’s important to be safe. The next launch opportunity is now Saturday (US time).
American rockets haven’t carried humans into space since July, 2011. Fast forward 9 years and SpaceX in collaboration with NASA, are again sending astronauts to the International Space Station.
As you can appreciate, adding humans to a launch adds an enormous amount of pressure, testing and attention to the mix. SpaceX didn’t get here easily, having now amassed 82/84 successful flights.
This Falcon 9 rocket now has a Crew Dragon spacecraft mounted on top and mid-way through the flight, will separate from the Falcon rocket, and continue on to the ISS.
As is Space’s big innovation, the Falcon 9 will return to earth and land on the SpaceX drone ship known as ‘Of course I still love you’.
After the refueling mission is done at the ISS (120 days), Crew Dragon will separate and do two final burns back to earth, releasing a giant parachute to slow the vehicle on re-entry, landing in the ocean which will be quickly recovered.
This recapture and re-use of the rocket is a massive component in SpaceX’s mission to reduce the cost of going to space.
This launch is incredibly significant to America, and to the world, as it paves the way to commercial space travel and eventually landings on the Moon and even Mars.
The rocket will launch from Kennedy Space Center, where SpaceX Founder and CEO, Elon Musk will watch the launch, along with President Trump.
Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are from NASA and have undertaken years of training to reach this point, each with great experience under their belt. Their mission this time will look very different with new SpaceX space suits (also being used for the first time), along with upgraded interfaces, like touchscreens, rather than hundreds of knobs and dials.
The two will be transported to the launch site using Tesla Model Xs, adorned with the NASA logos, one of the advantages of Musk also running a car company.
The launch kicks off on 28/05/2020 around 6AM AEST (4:33PM Eastern Time). To watch it, make sure you tune into the NASA Website or watch the stream below.
Until the launch, you can watch (or re-watch) this animation released by SpaceX in December last year that shows what should happen, if everything goes to plan.
Bonus photo the new Space Suit, on show with the Model X transporter, a nice shot of the rocket in place, ready for the launch in the background.