The first crewed spacecraft for SpaceX approved to proceed on May 27th

by Simon Cohen

SpaceX will launch on May 27th after receiving approval, having passed a critical Flight Readiness Review (FRR). 

The final stretch check was conducted a few days ago. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will be put on top of the Falcon 9 rocket, which will take it to ISS (International Space Station). Another flight readiness review is expected today for further checkouts.

The launch will take place on Wednesday, May 27th, at 4:33 PM EDT, and the Falcon 9 carrying the Crew Dragon will take off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Onboard will be Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the first astronauts to be carried by a private US-built spacecraft, plus the first human beings to launch into space from the US, on US soil, since Space Shuttle program stopped in 2011.

If all goes as planned, Hurley and Behnken will launch into space, then make a rendezvous with the ISS in the Crew Dragon, which is expected to dock with the station autonomously. Hurley and Behnken will then stay on the station, contributing to its work as crew members for about three months and then return home.

Although the astronauts are going to spend time at the ISS, this is not actually an operational launch. Rather, it is the final demonstration mission in a human-rating process of SpaceX for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. This program is NASA’s attempt to meet the cost of sending persons to the space from the United States.

In the end, the Crew Dragon will detach from Space Station with both the astronauts onboard and perform a controlled re-entry, plus descent into the ocean where the SpaceX’s recovery crew will pick them.

The static test fire was also performed last week, and it involved firing the engines of Falcon 9 while it was on the Launchpad to ensure they are functioning perfectly before allowing it to take off. According to Behnken, the official name for the Crew Dragon capsule for the flight will be revealed on the launch day.

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