NASA and SpaceX have completed the final preparations for the first manned test flight (Demo-2 mission) and are entering the launch countdown. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will board the SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft at 16:33 EST on May 27, followed by the Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station.
The technician has completed pre-launch preparations. On May 26, local time, they adjusted the Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad from a vertical position to a horizontal position, and conducted pre-flight inspections of the Falcon 9, the Dragon spacecraft and the ground support system, including a water radiator system that kept the spacecraft cool before launch. After the test is completed, the rocket is adjusted to a vertical state.
Now you have everything in place, just look at the weather. Earlier, NASA and SpaceX said after the final pre-launch review that the upcoming Demo-2 Dragon manned test mission was no longer a big problem except for the weather. However, the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Meteorological Squadron issued a weather forecast on the 26th has increased the probability of acceptable launch weather from 40% to 60%.
If the May 27 launch attempt is cancelled due to weather or other problems, the next launch window is May 30 and 31. Mike McAlenan, a launch meteorologist with the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, said earlier that the weather looked more favorable in those days.
However, SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann said that if the two-day launch were to take a different flight path, it would take 31 hours to reach the International Space Station, compared with 19 hours for the May 27 launch.
Since the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle in 2011, the U.S. has relied on all the tools to transport astronauts to and from the space station. The mission, the first time since 2011 that A U.S. astronauts have entered orbit from the U.S. mainland, and the last test flight by SpaceX for NASA’s commercial manned space program, will provide key data for the Falcon 9 rocket, manned Dragon spacecraft, ground systems, and orbiting, docking and landing operations.
If the launch goes ahead as usual, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will get up around 9 a.m. on the day of the launch, get a check-up, have breakfast, listen to final instructions, and then wear space suits, said Norm Knight, deputy director of flight operations at the Johnson Space Center.
After 1300, the two astronauts set off on the launch pad on the Tesla Model X. At about 1400 hours, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will enter the Dragon spacecraft, close the hatch, and then fill the rocket with fuel. About 12 minutes after take-off, the Dragon spacecraft entered low-Earth orbit and reached the station in about 24 hours to meet and dock with the space station. The first-stage rocket will return and land on an unmanned platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Remember, this is a test flight, the most important task is to test the aircraft, let it return safely, and begin to prepare for the launch of the Crew-1 mission. NASA Director Jim Bridensteine said.
The Crew-1 mission, the dragon’s first mission, will send three NASA astronauts and one Japanese astronaut to the International Space Station. Jim Bridenine revealed that NASA is currently aiming for the launch on August 30. The Demo-2 test flight must therefore return a few weeks before the official launch date to test the spacecraft.
“They’ll probably stay on the space station until early August. “However, the duration of the mission depends on the performance of the Demo-2 mission, the launch readiness of the Crew-1 mission, and the weather conditions for the return. “If there’s a window that’s right to return and the two astronauts don’t have to be on the International Space Station, we’ll pick them up.” Jim Bridenstine said.