Falcon 9 launched the Crew version of their Dragon spacecraft (Dragon 2), on March 2, 2019, to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the first demonstration flights of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The mission, called Demo-1, was set to launch at 2:49 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As part of Demo-1, Crew Dragon docked to the space station on March 3 (around 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time) and deliver roughly 400 pounds of supplies, including a test dummy strapped with sensors that would help let SpaceX and NASA know whether the flight is safe enough for human travelers. This is the first-of-its kind launch by SpaceX, a big step toward human spaceflight self-sufficiency. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule embarked on its first test mission to the ISS on march 2, 2019, launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the Space Coast. There is no one aboard Crew Dragon on this six-day flight, known as the Demo-1, with only a sensor-laden dummy astronaut named Ripley (nod to the sci-fi film “Alian”). If all goes well with the plan of Demo-1 and a subsequent emergency-escape test, SpaceX will use the capsule to ferry two astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as July, 2019.
On March 8, Crew Dragon will leave the ISS and splashdown into the Atlantic Ocean. The Crew Dragon (also called Dragon 2) is SpaceX’s flagship human exploration vehicle. The company has spent nearly all of this past decade working on its development. Since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011, NASA has been without a working human spaceflight system, and has instead relied on Russian Soyuz missions to get its astronauts to the ISS and back, at a cost of about $80 million per seat. So, this would be a huge milestone for self sufficiency. This would be the first time since 2011 that the American rocket capable of bringing human into orbit had been successfully launched.
Liftoff window began at 02:49 a.m. EST (07:49 GMT), in the video “WATCH LIVE: Space X to Launch Falcon 9 Rocket #CrewDragon (DM-1)@2:49 am EST“, below:
SpaceX was targeting Saturday, March 2 for launch of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This test flight without crew on board the spacecraft is intended to demonstrate SpaceX’s capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The instantaneous launch window opened at 2:49 a.m. EST, or7:49 UTC, and a backup instantaneous launch opportunity will be available on Tuesday, March 5 at 1:38 a.m. EST, or 6:38 UTC. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, in the video “Crew Demo-1 Mission“, below:
SpaceX has a spacesuit-wearing mannequin full of sensors riding aboard Crew Dragon during the Demo-1 launch. Learn about it, in the video “SpaceX’s ‘Ripley’ Mannequin is Full of Sensors“, below:
SpaceX Demo-1 mission: a Falcon 9 rocket launched the Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on 2 March 2019, at 07:49 UTC (02:49 EST). Demo-1 is SpaceX’s first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. The Crew Dragon transports roughly 180 kg (400 pounds) of crew supplies and equipment, as well as an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) fitted with sensors and nicknamed Ripley. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage (Block 5 B1051) landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to automatically dock to the Harmony module’s International Docking Adapter (IDA) on 3 March 2019, at around 11:00 UTC (06:00 EST), in the video “SpaceX Demo-1: Falcon 9 launches Crew Dragon & Falcon 9 first stage landing“, below:
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Russian cosmonaut and Expedition 58 commander Oleg Kononenko welcomed SpaceX Demo-1 Crew Dragon on March 3, 2019. The spacecraft autonomously docked to the International Space Station’s Harmony module forward International Docking Adapter (IDA) on March 3, 2019, at 10:51UTC (05:51 EST) and the hatch was opened at13:07 UTC (08:07 EST). Demo-1 is SpaceX’s first uncrewed test flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on a mission to the ISS and was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket (Block 5 B1051) from the Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on March 2, 2019, at 07:49UTC (02:49 EST). The Crew Dragon transports roughly 180 kg (400 pounds) of crew supplies and equipment, as well as an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) fitted with sensors and nicknamed Ripley, in the video “Crew Dragon welcoming ceremony“, below:
After a successful launch of the Falcon 9 with the first Dragon 2 spacecraft, Elon Musk and members of the team from NASA and SpaceX discuss the successful launch with the media, in the video “Elon Musk & Team Discuss SpaceX Dragon 2 Launch Success“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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