May 16 (UPI) — U.S. space exploration technology company SpaceX plans to carry its first manned mission as soon as May 27, with payloads from manned dragon spacecraft unveiled, including a panorama of the Earth using hundreds of thousands of students from around the world who will graduate from the country in 2020, according tomedia reports.
Figure 1: SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft will make its first manned flight on May 27
NASA said in a news release that the agency and SpaceX are still on track to advance the mission, which will be one of the most important missions SpaceX has carried out since it was founded in 2002. For nearly a decade, SpaceX and NASA have been relentlessly developing the next generation of manned spacecraft, a very different spacecraft from previous cargo ships.
While the next launch of the manned Dragon spacecraft will be the first in its history, it has successfully completed two aborted tests in 2015 and 2020 and completed the perfect first orbital launch in March 2019. SpaceX’s third manned Dragon spacecraft and new Falcon 9 rocket are ready to make history, despite technical hurdles.
Now, in addition to the many historic milestones associated with the demo-2 mission of the manned Dragon spacecraft, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will join the new project to add a panorama of the Earth that uses the 2020 graduation photos of hundreds of thousands of students from around the world.
Figure 2: SpaceX plans to add a surprise payload to its first manned mission to celebrate the end of the 2020 program
According to an update from NASA’s latest blog post as of May 15, SpaceX’s demo-2 hardware appears to be just ready to fly, at least from a technical point of view. Earlier, NASA and SpaceX officially cleared the interior of the spacecraft and prepared the space suits of the two astronauts. Meanwhile, the new Falcon 9 rocket Block 5 booster B1058 and the expendable superior are just ready to enter SpaceX’s main launch pad, the Pad 39A.
Figure 3: NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Hurley will fly a manned dragon to the International Space Station for the first time
NASA has assigned astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to fly manned Dragon spacecraft for the first time to the International Space Station (ISS), who have been training around the clock for the past 12-18 months and advising SpaceX on the design of the manned Dragon spacecraft. Now, the two of them will join the students’ graduation photos of the Earth panorama.
The program, called “Graduate20,” is designed to congratulate those who graduate in 2020. However, since the graduation season coincides with the outbreak of the new crown, large public gatherings will almost certainly be prevented or drastically reduced, delaying or canceling graduation ceremonies around the world altogether. SpaceX says photos submitted by students will be added to the Earth panorama, which will be printed and will follow SpaceX’s manned Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Figure 4: A composite panorama of the Earth is being displayed on SpaceX’s official website, which will eventually be printed and put into orbit
While this will not replace the graduation ceremony itself, sending a photo into space will certainly not harm tens, hundreds of thousands or even millions of students around the world. Any student can submit a graduation photo to spaceX.com/ClassOf2020 by the end of May 20.