Despite a, a record and the need to swap troubled rocket engines, NASA and SpaceX remain determined to launch the historic Crew 1 mission from Florida on Sunday. The flight of four astronauts to the ISS in a Crew Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 rocket follows and and will set some important milestones in space travel.
Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about the mission.
Wait, what about the engines?
The targeted launch date for Crew-1 was postponed from the end of October after NASA and SpaceX discovered unexpected behavior on some Falcon 9 engines that were slated for an unrelated mission. This mission was scrubbed with just two seconds left on the countdown and one A stray piece of paint had clogged a tiny relief valve line. The clog caused two of the missile’s engines to attempt to fire early, potentially damaging the engines if lift-off was not automatically canceled.
SpaceX noted that engines in the rocket intended to be used for Crew-1 had “the same tendencies”. The launch date has been postponed to November, the engines have been replaced and now NASA and SpaceX are both satisfied that the time has come.
OK, why is Crew-1 a big deal?
Crew-1 is part of the climax of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Years in the works. For decades, NASA has usually developed its own rockets and spacecraft in-house with the help of contractors. However, the Commercial Crew program works more like chartering a flight. Companies like SpaceX and Boeing have vehicles designed for other customers and NASA can ride them.
This is also a big step in bringing space travel back to US soil. From the end of the space shuttle program in 2011 toNASA relied on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to put its astronauts into orbit.
Demo-2 has been viewed as a successful Crew Dragon demonstration, and NASA regards Crew-1 as the first official crew rotation mission from US coastlines since the shuttle withdrew.
“It’s exciting, especially when Crew-1 is the first time we as humans put four people on a space capsule like that is pretty cool.” explained Anthony Vareha of NASA, the senior flight director for the mission. “It is also the longest crewed US capsule mission ever.”
Who flies in the Crew Dragon?
NASA’s Crew Dragon Commander will be there on the historic flight Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Gloverand mission specialist Shannon Walker, together with the mission specialist of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi to the space station.
Up until now, three people in a Soyuz capsule was a cramped ride, but Crew Dragon can accommodate up to seven people (for comparison: the space shuttle flew crews of up to eight people), which makes the journey seem relatively spacious for these four space travelers .
How long is the trip?
Crew-1 members embark on a six-month scientific mission that is exciting for people in the world of orbital and space science, as four crew members making the journey have more hands on the station to conduct more experiments in zero gravity perform.
“It will be exciting to see how much work we can do when we are there,” said Hopkins on Monday.
But of course, the astronauts have to get there first. The actual trip to the ISS only takes about eight and a half hours from the start on Saturday evening to docking at the station on early Sunday morning.
How do i watch
Exactly here., currently scheduled for Sunday, November 15 at 4:27 pm (after Saturday’s weather-related delay) from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
NASA TV will broadcast the start and docking, and we have a livestream with us too, which you can check out below.