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  • At the beginning of 2020, a privately owned company had never launched humans into space

  • before. Now? SpaceX is gearing up to do it for a third time.

  • Its next mission to the International Space Station, known as Crew-2, is with the company's

  • most seasoned team yet and also its most international. Crew-2 is made up of four members in total;

  • two NASA astronauts; Mission commander, Shane Kimbrough, and pilot Megan McArthur, and mission

  • specialists Thomas Pesquet from ESA as well as Aki Hoshide from JAXA. Although this will

  • be McArthur's first duration on the ISS, each member of the team has flown multiple

  • times on previous missions including the Space Shuttle, and Soyuz spacecraft. Building on

  • their collective expertise, they've been able to approach the SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule

  • and training program with thoroughness and excitement. Even if it's a little different.

  • So comparing the Crew Dragon with the space shuttle training, obviously, the vehicles

  • have a lot of differences, even though their goal is the same to get people into low Earth

  • orbit. With Crew Dragon. Of course, we don't have those panels and panels of switches,

  • we have a very clean wall environment.

  • It's like a smartphone, I would say, compared to the old telephone.

  • And even though the team is experienced and

  • most of the Crew Dragon controls are automatic, it's still a brand new spacecraft with lots

  • to get used to.

  • You need to know all the systems, to be able

  • to fix them and to understand how they work. You train in the SIM, then you train on your

  • spacesuit, and then you train with those scenarios from benign to more, more difficult, then

  • at the end you really have to you know react to a fire or launch abort, and all the contingency

  • that could happen and at you have to be prepared for.

  • All this training becomes important not only for their safety, but remember these are still

  • early days for commercial human spaceflight.

  • This is only the third human

  • flight of this vehicle, right. So when we get into the range and we've flown, you know,

  • I don't say, put a number on it 30 to 50 times, then I think things will be more routine,

  • I think they're all pretty much test flights still until you get, a lot more data points

  • to be able to compare. The NASA and SpaceX teams have certainly looked at what happened

  • on demo two and changed things and made it better for crew one. And then we're getting

  • data from crew one already on the launch site, and they're working on better fixes for that,

  • And SpaceX is working diligently with those

  • changes. The Crew-2 team will actually be launching on the Crew Dragon Endeavour, which

  • is the same one that was launched during the Demo-2 mission in May of 2020 with Doug Hurley

  • and Bob Behnken, who happens to be McArthur's husband, how cool is that?

  • It is amazing to think that I will be sitting in the same seat that Bob was sitting in when

  • he certified that vehicle, the very first time that it launched. But that certainly

  • adds a little something special to the mission.

  • Since then, the SpaceX team has made some

  • tweaks to Endeavour, starting with the thermal protective system, adding some new parachutes,

  • and increasing the propellant on the pad abort system. The extra fuel will improve the safety

  • systems of the capsule which allow it to launch off the Falcon 9 rocket and maneuver itself

  • away if there's an emergency. Crew-2 will launch out of NASA's Kennedy

  • Space Center and will be in orbit for about a day before it docks with the ISS and when

  • it does, it will be filled with 11 people in total. Crew-2 AND Crew-1 will be aboard

  • the station at the same time. Although it will be cramped space lasting roughly a week,

  • the crews are taking advantage of the extra set of hands. They'll start conducting scientific

  • research such as ultrasound testing and watching cotton grow in microgravity. The crew will

  • also be responsible for installing the station's new solar arrays which will increase the station's

  • total power from 160 to 215 kilowatts. Crew-2 will be able to return home in 6 months.

  • A flight like this from the three space agencies hasn't been made in 20 years. It may not

  • seem like a big deal, but international collaborations like these are important.

  • It makes things more complicated. Yeah, we don't speak the

  • same language. We don't have those same priorities all the time. in the end, it makes you better,

  • it makes you achieve more.

  • Looking ahead to the Moon and Mars. I

  • think we need to continue this international cooperation because a single country can just

  • cannot do it alone.

  • It's also true on this global level, that

  • we have these big dreams, where we look out, you know, to the horizon, and this desire

  • to explore the universe around us. And we're always going to be more successful when we

  • work together with our international partners to achieve these incredible dreams.

  • For more Countdown To Launch, check out our playlist here. Don't forget to subscribe

  • and if there's another launch you'd like us to cover, let us know in the comments below.

  • Thank you so much for watching and I'll see you next time on Seeker.

At the beginning of 2020, a privately owned company had never launched humans into space

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SpaceX Will Launch Its Next Human Spaceflight to the ISS

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    Summer posted on 2021/04/20
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