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  • This is the moment that we've all been waiting for.

  • SpaceX's Demo-2 is just days away from launching.

  • We're on the verge of a truly historic event in human spaceflight.

  • For the very first time SpaceX, a privately owned company, will ferry two NASA astronauts to

  • the International Space Station. And they won't be aboard your average capsule.

  • The Crew Dragon is a state of the art, completely autonomous vehicle that will launch on one

  • of the reusable Falcon 9 rockets. But before we hand over all the reigns, this mission

  • is the final demonstration flight for SpaceX. Its purpose will be to test all the aspects

  • of their crew transportation system, including their launch pad, launch vehicle, and spacecraft.

  • The success of all these components could make or break if this new era of human spaceflight

  • can be brought back to the United States. Launching humans into space is an inspiring,

  • yet daunting task. It takes years of planning, labor, brave participants, and let's not

  • forget, enormous rockets. But for decades, this unique endeavour has stayed within the

  • confines of government bodies. The last time we launched anyone from the U.S. was when

  • the Space Shuttle program retired in 2011. And bringing launches back stirs a sense of

  • pride for the country, and for Robert Behnken, one of the astronauts that will be onboard

  • for Demo-2. I think we have a different perspective of

  • the importance of coming to Florida launching again on an American rocket from the coast.

  • And generations of people who maybe didn't get a chance to see a space shuttle launch,

  • getting the chance again, to see human spaceflight, in our own backyard, if you will, is pretty

  • exciting to be a part of. And this will only be the fifth time in U.S.

  • history that NASA astronauts were put into a brand-new spacecraft. One that's cost-effective,

  • reusable, and, in our humble 21st-century opinion, looks pretty cool and nothing like

  • NASA has had before. On the exterior, Crew Dragon is broken down

  • into two segments: the capsule, which is designed to carry critical pressurized cargo and people,

  • and the trunk, which is an unpressurized service module. Outside the capsule, you'll find

  • the draco thrusters that help propel the vehicle and around the trunk, you can find the solar

  • arrays that power the spacecraft. Now stepping inside Crew Dragon, you definitely

  • start to get Space Odyssey vibes. Contrary to the Soyuz capsule or the Space Shuttle

  • which had buttons lining the walls, Crew Dragon is a minimalist design outfitted with seats

  • for the passengers who face touchscreen displays. Plus, the craft has an Environmental Control

  • and Life Support System that helps keep a stabilized pressure for humans and other life

  • on board as well keeping temperatures between a cozy 18 and 27 degrees Celsius. But the

  • best feature of all? The Crew Dragon is completely autonomous; the vehicle basically parks itself

  • on the ISS, and Demo-2 will be the the first time the spacecraft will be able to do so

  • with crew onboard. Really, you know, the goal of all the things

  • it's to try to, decrease the workload on the individuals and the SpaceX vehicle really

  • does that from an astronaut perspective, we can focus on the real mission of astronauts

  • with respect to space station is to perform the science and the research that folks want

  • to do in low-Earth orbit, and an extensive training flow to really understand and operate

  • a rocket in a spacecraft is a pretty big burden. And so, the automation that the SpaceX vehicle

  • brings, really does offload and decrease the amount of training and kind of the burden

  • if you will.

  • And it's nice to really reduce that with the Dragon spacecraft.

  • Which is a huge compliment. Behnken and his flight companion, Doug Hurley, are both seasoned

  • astronauts having flown with the Space Shuttle program before. And they've met with the

  • SpaceX teams extensively to have their input into the design and reliability of Crew Dragon.

  • So, what's it going to look like on launch day? The mission timeline will go like this.

  • Behnken and Hurley will undergo quarantine until launch which is currently scheduled

  • for May 27th, 2020, pending weather and other conditions. At countdown's mark, the pair

  • will be launched into the atmosphere for a few minutes at an acceleration of about 28,163

  • km. At that point, the Falcon 9 booster will detach and attempt to land on one of the company's

  • off-coast drone ships. Once in orbit, the crew will unbuckle, conduct a first series

  • of testing onboard, rest, and wait less than 24 hours until they reach the ISS. Once arrived,

  • the crew will test out the new touchscreen controls for manual docking, just in case

  • in the future, the automation goes out. If that's clear, the system will return to

  • autonomous control and dock Behnken and Hurley safely. They will remain in space for about

  • 110 days or more in order for the Crew Dragon to go through more remote testing from the

  • ground as well as monitor the degradation of the solar arrays on the craft. For return,

  • the Crew Dragon will break from orbit, again autonomously, and strip away the trunk since

  • it won't need it. It will re-enter the atmosphere and minutes later the Mrk3 parachutes will

  • deploy and land Crew Dragon into the Atlantic to be recovered from the ground team.

  • This is by far the riskiest and most important mission that SpaceX has ever conducted. But

  • its success means the teams have paved the way for a new age of spaceflight that will

  • continue to push the boundaries of human exploration. Which is why NASA opened its doors to commercial

  • programs in the first place, to get innovative designs to not only take us to the I.S.S.

  • but to the moon, Mars, and beyond. SpaceX is just one launch away from making our curiosities

  • a reality. Demo-2 is a huge mission and If you want to

  • know more about the journey it took to get there, check out this video here. Make sure

  • to subscribe to keep up with all your rocket launch news, and let us know down below what

  • launch you're most excited for this year. Thanks for watching and I'll see you next

  • time on Seeker.

This is the moment that we've all been waiting for.

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SpaceX Crew Dragon Is the Most Anticipated Launch of the Year

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    Summer posted on 2020/06/08
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