SpaceX’s 2nd crew launch was successfully done on 15th November 2020. The crew Dragon rocket carried four astronauts to the International Space Station and is the 2nd successful manned launch by the company. It seems quite obvious now that SpaceX will be regularly sending crews to space for NASA. Talking about it on Twitter Joe Biden said, “testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination,”
🚀 We’re sending four astronauts to the @Space_Station on a U.S. rocket from U.S. soil at 7:27pm ET on Sunday, Nov. 15.
— NASA (@NASA) November 14, 2020
Every detail about SpaceX’s 2nd crew launch
The Crewed mission was scheduled to happen on 31st October but got delayed to mid-November due to same issues. And now finally the launch took place from NASA’s Kennedy space centre at 7:27 PM Eastern Time using the SpaceX’s Falcon rockets. Inside the rocket were three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut. The names of the astronauts are Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Soichi Noguchi (JAXA).
If there is an emergency at any point on the pad or during ascent, Crew Dragon is able to carry astronauts to safety pic.twitter.com/S8KQzwB0Z4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
According to the information we have the rocket is going to dock at the ISS at 11:00 PM ET (Monday) or 9:30 AM IST (Tuesday). It is also important to note that the docking will be automatic and won’t need any manual assistance from the Crew.
This mission is very crucial for SpaceX as a company. As it’s Crew Dragon spacecraft became the 1st private company to get permitted for carrying humans to space. It is also a true mission for the company as the 1st flight mission lasted only for two months and was for testing and demonstration purposes. But this time around, the mission is much more important and critical. After the launch was successful the Falcon 9 booster also successfully landed back in a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean for reusing.
Future of crewed space missions
After 2011, NASA was depended on Russia for sending their astronauts to space. So, the success of this mission is a huge milestone for the company. With SpaceX’s technology and quality engineers, it will very well become possible to execute multiple crew missions every year successfully. Another important thing to know is that the cost is also comparatively cheaper at around $55 million per seat in contrast to $80 million when Russia was sending NASA astronauts to space.
This success from the company has been long-awaited. As NASA asked SpaceX to make a vehicle that can do timely launches and carry astronauts back and forth from the ISS. The recent crewed mission happened under a contract that NASA had with SpaceX since 2014.
Why is NASA still sceptical about SpaceX’s 2nd crew launch?
Though the launch was very smooth and had a minute cabin temperature control problem once that was quickly fixed, NASA is still very sceptical about this. From the time NASA lost the two spacecraft “Columbia” and “Challenger” the company is treading with caution. They say their mindset is to keep improving and getting better with time. Explaining their point, Phil McAlister said that NASA believes in getting better with time and keep learning. Because if they think they have won or have accomplished everything they want, they will not stay vigilant anymore.
SpaceX is now going to work closely with NASA
The successful SpaceX launched is great news for the US. Because as I mentioned earlier now, they can not only save money while sending astronauts to Space but can also do the launches more frequently. As, apart from SpaceX, another company, Boeing is also in the process of developing their human-crewed vehicle for space. But there is still a long way to go for the company. As their first uncrewed mission to ISS didn’t go well due to multiple issues. And ultimately the vehicle was brought back to Earth.
This means that for now, SpaceX will become the go-to option for NASA. Their crew dragon capsule with 4 seats also houses more astronauts than the Soyuz capsule. This is why very first time in history there will be 7 astronauts in the ISS at the same time. This also means they have to adjust a little as there are not many sleeping quarters in the ISS. And someone has to sleep in the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
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