SpaceX to reuse the Crew Dragon for their third astronaut launch?

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Third manned Crew Dragon launch set to occur in 2021.

SpaceX is considering reusing its first Crew Dragon spacecraft to launch astronauts for their third astronaut launch.

The mission is tentatively slated to take place in early 2021. Senior writer at SpaceNews Jeff Foust first reported the story via Twitter. 

According to Foust, a NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel meeting took place sometime last week.  Panel member Mr. Don McErlean, stated that NASA is planning to reuse the Crew Dragon that was used for the Demo-2 mission

The Crew Dragon “Endeavour” is currently docked on the ISS. 

Not counting the eggs before they hatch

Although NASA is planning months ahead, there is no confirmation that the plan will go through just yet. At the time of writing this article, the third astronaut launch, dubbed the Crew-2, is anything but official.

SpaceX must return astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on August 2 and successfully launch another mission, the Crew-1 approximately 8 weeks later. 

As far as Demo-2 is concerned, the Crew Dragon is set to undock from the ISS at 5:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday August 1. Splashdown back to Earth is set to take place at 2:42 p.m. EDT the next day.

If the capsule is recovered without any issues, several things will occur next. SpaceX and NASA teams will inspect the spacecraft and the astronaut spacesuits for quality control. If everything goes according to plan, the agency will certify the Dragon as fully operational for crewed launches. 

On the surface, the Endeavour’s undocking and splashdown may look like standard operating procedures. But August 2 is shaping up to be the most pivotal date in SpaceX’s history.  

Provided, God forbid, that the mission fails, years of hard work will be undone in a single day. Not only Crew-1 and Crew-2 will not be greenlighted, but SpaceX will have to rethink their entire MO regarding space access.  

Long story short, dear FEM readers and space enthusiasts, on August 2, we have a date with destiny!


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