On May 30, 2020, Elon Musk’s space company marked the beginning of the private astronautics era. Launching the Crew Dragon spacecraft using the Falcon 9 rocket has shown that private companies can send people into space, just as well as the government programs, and sometimes do it much better thanks to their innovative ideas.
Demo-2 mission with a crew of two astronauts is the first successful
manned space flight for SpaceX. It’s also the first time the US
astronauts went to space since the Space Shuttle era, which ended in
astronauts Bob Banken and Doug Hurley flew all the way to the
International Space Station, where they docked on May 31. NASA TV has
provided an online broadcast of this historic event.
spending one-to-four months on the ISS, Behnken and Hurley will
return to Earth on Crew Dragon. The Demo-2 mission will be considered
successful only after the spacecraft has safely landed. This flight
will prove the US private space program no longer needs to depend on
the good old Russian “Soyuz” spacecraft to deliver
astronauts to the ISS.
you like to learn some fascinating facts about the flight of Crew
Dragon? I bet you would!
The Falcon 9 rocket used to launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft into
orbit has successfully returned to Earth and had a smooth landing on
a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a spectacular
After the launch, the Crew Dragon’s flight continued in a fully
automatic mode. Moreover, the docking with the ISS will also be done
on autopilot without astronauts’ participation.
The auto-docking procedure was a new experience for the classically
trained veterans of spacefaring Hurley and Behnken. They used to do
everything manually, which sounds like a lot of work. Of course, the
crew will be able to take manual control if/when necessary, but the
main stages of the procedure must be executed by the technical means
of Crew Dragon.
If you look closer at the controls of Crew Dragon, you’ll see no
knobs, levers, switches, buttons, and no
steering wheel, of course. The new era
requires new tech. That’s why all operations are done exclusively
through large touch screens. If the mission becomes a success, these
touch screens will become the norm for all future space travel.
Astronauts wear special spacesuits complete with gloves that will
allow them to operate touch screens. The suits are a love child of
SpaceX engineers and the famous designer Jose Fernandez. The suits
have built-in cooling and communication systems, and the helmet was
made on a 3D printer. Talk about breakthrough technology!
other surprises are Elon and SpaceX keeping in store for us and the
entire world? I guess we’ll find out soon enough!