The COVID-19 coronavirus has put many space programs on hold, and some have even been put on hold indefinitely because of missed time windows. The events of the past few months may not see the future for many, but they give humanity more reason to rise to the challenge. The old saying, “ad astra per aspera” (to reach the sky), took on a new literal meaning when SpaceX and NASA made history on their first manned mission this week.
Of course, humans have sent astronauts into space for years, and the International Space Station in the distance has been around for years, and the launch itself may not be of much significance in the space man’s own, but like any spaceX rocket launch, its return is a historic part.
SpaceX’s goal is to make space flight more routine and economical, primarily by developing and using reusable rockets to land safely on Earth (or at sea). This is true even as a means of delivery carrying humans rather than inanimate goods. That’s what the Crew Dragon capsule is for, and it’s going to launch on May 27.
NASA gave the green light to SpaceX’s space mission after completing a flight readiness review on Friday afternoon. Yesterday, NASA and the crew completed a rehearsal. While Robert Bainken and Douglas Hurley are veterans of multiple flights to space, the Dragon spacecraft will be a whole new chapter in their careers.
The Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon spacecraft and two astronauts, will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:33 p.m. EST. SpaceX’s rocket and capsule could make its first manned mission later this year if the Demo-2 mission is successfully tested.