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article imageHistory-making SpaceX mission to launch in nine more days

By Karen Graham     May 18, 2020 in Technology
Cape Canaveral - SpaceX confirmed on Monday that its next launch will be Demo-2, currently scheduled for May 27. The mission will see two NASA astronauts strap into SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule and head for the International Space Station (ISS).
The Demo-2 launch, scheduled to lift off from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., at 4:33 pm ET on May 27 will be closely watched.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley should arrive at the International Space Station about 19 hours later. Both NASA astronauts are former military test pilots and veteran astronauts who previously flew on space shuttle missions.
In preparation for the launch, the two astronauts entered a strict medical quarantine last week at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and plan to fly to the Kennedy Space Center next Wednesday for final preparations and a dress-rehearsal of the launch.
SpaceX had planned on launching another batch of Starlink satellites this week, but due to Tropical Storm Arthur's appearance decided to postpone that launch and focus on the Demo-2 mission. Demo-2 will be the second time SpaceX launches its Crew Dragon capsule to the space station. The only difference is that Demo-1 last year had no crew on board.
At T-minus 2 hours and 15 minutes, Behnken and Hurley will enter the Crew Dragon spacecraft using the brand-new crew access arm, a hallway-like bridge that SpaceX added to NASA's historic launchpad 39A in preparation for the flight. According to Space.com, the walkway connects the Fixed Service Structure (FSS) of Pad 39A to the tip of the Falcon 9 rocket, where the astronauts will board the Crew Dragon.
Crew access arm installed at Launch Complex 39A in Florida; will serve as a bridge for NASA astronau...
Crew access arm installed at Launch Complex 39A in Florida; will serve as a bridge for NASA astronauts to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
SpaceX
Because Falcon 9 rockets are taller than the space shuttles that used to launch from Pad 39A, the new access arm is about 70 feet (21 meters) higher than the orbiter access arm that was previously attached to the FSS for 30 years.
The Demo-2 mission has been a priority for both NASA and SpaceX, with the agency deeming the mission to be “mission essential” even during the coronavirus pandemic. Presently, there is only one American astronaut on the ISS.
The launch of the astronauts from American soil will also help NASA financially. The space agency has struggled to maintain a consistent presence on the International Space Station, paying Russia $83 million per seat for a ride to the station onboard a Soyuz rocket.
More about Spacex, Crew Dragon, new astronauts, International Space Station, historic mission
 
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