As we are inching closer to the much-anticipated launch of the SpaceX Demo-2 mission from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, let’s give you a quick recap of the details related to this liftoff that is targeted for May 27, at 4:33 p.m. EDT (which translates to approx 2:03 a.m. IST the next day that is May 28) carrying two American NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, to the International Space Station on-board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Mind you! This is the first launch of American astronauts from the US soil to the International Space Station (ISS) since the conclusion of the space shuttle era in 2011.
The Demo-2 launch will be SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, and landing operations, the US space agency revealed in a blog post.
If you wish to watch the SpaceX Demo-2 mission, NASA and SpaceX will provide live coverage of the launch activities beginning Wednesday, May 27 at 12:15 p.m. EDT (which converts to 9:45 p.m. as per IST) leading up to the lift off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelling the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the ISS. You can even watch the event on official stream of NASA TV on YouTube.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron has now predicted a 60 percent chance of favourable weather conditions for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 launch. The primary weather concerns for launch are flight through precipitation, anvil and cumulus clouds.
The flight is slated to arrive at the space station at 11:39 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 28 (which as per IST means 9:09 p.m.). Upon arriving at the space station, Behnken and Hurley will join the Expedition 63 crew to conduct important research as well as support station operations and maintenance. While docked to the station, the crew will run tests to ensure the Crew Dragon spacecraft is capable on future missions of remaining connected to the station for up to 210 days.
However, the specific duration for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will be determined after arrival based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch. “Finally, the mission will conclude with the Crew Dragon undocking from the station, deorbiting and returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth with a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean,” revealed an official blog post by NASA.
(Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)
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