NASA gives SpaceX the license to launch its Crew Dragon capsule


After reviewing the Crew Dragon capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket, NASA has decided to allow this SpaceX’s machine to deploy. The spacecraft is going to launch two astronauts that are Behnken and Hurley, to the ISS. The astronauts will wear their SpaceX suits and take a ride to launchpad 39A. The two veteran astronauts will board the Dragon capsule with the assistance of six technicians. 

Once the Crew Dragon launches for the ISS, Hurley and Behnken will spend four months on orbiting research before jetting back to earth. Steve Jurczyk says that after a successful Flight Readiness Review, the board unanimously chose the launch to go on. 

Jurczyk says that the most exciting thing for America is to deploy American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since 2011. Benji Reed, SpaceX’s director of crew missions, says that there will be more reviews before the actual launch. 

Various briefings are underway to address the parachute and propulsion system problem to ensure the explosion of a capsule as in a ground test last year does not repeat. Jurczyk says that they have a new chute design with higher margins to ensure the safety of the reentry mission to earth. 

The mission to launch the Crew Dragon capsule has been challenging. The parachutes being faulty, the segment failing on some occasions, and the coronavirus pandemic are few of the challenges. Another recent problem is a performance fail during a flight test of the Crew Dragon’s fire suppression system. Jurczyk replaces Doug Loverro, whose resignation is still mysterious. He only says he made a mistake that he is yet to make public. Sources imply his error relates to the procurement of contractors for the Artemis program. 

NASA’s principal contractor has been Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Some of their deals include the deployment of astronauts to the International Space Station and the Artemis program to launch astronauts for lunar expeditions. 

Demo-2 is the first crewed mission for SpaceX to launch to the moon with the Crew Dragon capsule. This mission follows the previous Demo-1 test to the ISS with a dummy. Jurczyk says that they have tested the system for human exploits, and it is all set to go. NASA is also confident that Crew Dragon meets the safety requirements after successful tests and reviews. Josh Finch, a NASA spokesman, reports that the probability of ‘Loss of Crew’ is 1-in-276, which is best surpassing the threshold. 

Finally, NASA hopes that SpaceX can deliver on its projects to minimize the costs of hiring flights from other countries like Russia. 

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