NASA and SpaceX on Wednesday released their “Demo Mission 2” (aka Demo-2) commercial manned launch media certification invitation,media reported. This is the first time the commercial manned program has carried real astronauts into space.
It is worth mentioning that the invitation includes the current proposed timetable for this task. According to the current plan, the task is “no earlier than mid-to-late May”.
Reports earlier this year suggested that May was a launch window, and that SpaceX and NASA could advance to April as early as April and delay it to late June, depending on the spacecraft’s and crew’s readiness.
SpaceX has reportedly prepared the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the mission, but NASA has also changed mission parameters, including extending its stay on the International Space Station. The astronauts on the demonstration mission were Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
It will be the first time the two astronauts have flown into space aboard a SpaceX spacecraft, and the first manned mission of the commercial manned program. Through the mission, NASA will work with private lying launch operators to re-establish manned space capabilities for the United States. All current United States astronaut transport missions to and from the International Space Station are accomplished in cooperation with the Russian Federal Space Agency, which uses the Soyuz spacecraft to complete the mission.
So far, NASA and SpaceX don’t seem to think their first manned mission will change much because of the new corona outbreak. The invitation from NASA is the most detailed confirmation that the mission is still ongoing. The launch window does not appear to have been adjusted, although the new crown outbreak has led to strict quarantines across the United States
All OF NASA’s facilities have recently entered a “level three” emergency state, which means that all employees must perform mandatory telecommuting unless they are required to personally attend the office for mission-related activities. NASA’s Ames facility has been upgraded to a “level four” emergency status because it has a “in-place” order in place in California — meaning the facility has been closed and only telecommuting is allowed.
IN AN INVITATION TO THE MEDIA TODAY, NASA SAID IT WAS “ACTIVELY MONITORING THE PROGRESS OF THE NEW CROWN OUTBREAK” AND WOULD “COMMUNICATE ANY UPDATES THAT MAY AFFECT MISSION PLANS OR MEDIA ACCESS IF NECESSARY.” In addition to standard quarantine procedures for Hurley and Becken, the agency has implemented additional precautions to protect the health of the two astronauts and prevent them from getting sick before the space flight.