D-Day -1: Final Preparations before SpaceX’s historic mission on May 27th.
We are one day away from witnessing history! Back on April 24th, we reported that NASA and SpaceX announced that Orbital Human Spaceflight will resume from U.S. soil on May 27th, at 4:33 pm Easter Time. The mission, dubbed the Crew Dragon Demo-2, will also mark the first time in history that a private company will launch astronauts into orbit. Well this day is only 24hrs away, and excitement is ramping up! A couple days ago, Elon Musk tweeted a picture of the mission’s patch. One for the record books.
Watch the recap here:
Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft are on the launching pad:
SpaceX announced that the Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon Spacecraft have been vertically docked on the launchpad. Elon Musk also tweeted a beautiful picture of both the rocket and the capsule 2 days ago.
Complex 39A will yet again be the site for a historic event:
The Crew Dragon Demo-2 will launch atop the historic Kennedy Space Center launch pad Complex 39A. It is located in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and has launched the first astronauts to the moon, supported dozens of other missions, including both the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
The mission passed a key NASA safety review test on May 22.
According to a report by Business Insider, SpaceX was able to clear 2 major tests that would’ve prevented the mission from going through in case of failure in either one. The first one was a flight readiness review needed to reduce risk and prevent the death of the crew, and the second one was a test-firing of the Falcon 9 rocket engines.
Low probability of failure in terms of either the mission or loss-of crew.
According to another report published by Business Insider, loss-of-crew is estimated to be 1 in 276, whilst lost-of-mission has been set at 1 in 60. Any risk to the mission is thus considered to be approximately 4.5 times a risk on the crew. Both figures are deemed acceptable by NASA.
COVID-19 still looms large for everyone involved in the mission.
The coronavirus pandemic also constitutes a threat, albeit an indirect one, to the success of the mission. In an article published by The Verge, deputy manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Steve Stich stated that the agency is taking quote-unquote “extra precautions”, by implementing temperature checks and physical distancing for the astronauts, the ground staff at Mission Control, and potential visitors. The article also stated that the dozens of staff who will work at Mission Control, who usually work in close proximity to each other in closed rooms, will be spread out in separate rooms.
In conclusion, this historic event constitutes another milestone in Elon Musk’s stellar career, and the democratization of space travel and the colonization of planet Mars will definitely become a reality at some point in the future.