NASA and SpaceX start to plan details for crew launch

Nov 13, 2018

SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturing company owned by Elon Musk, is one of two companies that’s going to help NASA put man back into orbit via launches from American soil.

And although their first launch is still a handful of months out, SpaceX and the U.S. government-sanctioned NASA have already begun putting together the details of the first American-originated crewed launch since 2011—which is more than a little exciting for space enthusiasts everywhere.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are set to be the first two to head up, as they will crew the first test launch in April of 2019.

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken. (©NASA)
NASA astronaut Doug Hurley. (©NASA)

SpaceX and NASA have been coming up with preparations and procedures for how they’ll achieve liftoff for that first launch, starting with the order of operations before the rocket carrying the smaller, manned craft ever leaves the ground.

According to the official NASA website, “a key question the program and the company have been assessing is whether the astronauts will climb aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft before or after SpaceX fuels the Falcon 9 rocket.”

For now, they’ve decided that Behnken and Hurkey will climb aboard before the rocket carrying them is fueled—but things like this are all a part of the numerous, detailed operations that need to be finalized before the endeavor is officially undertaken.

“To make this decision, our teams conducted an extensive review of the SpaceX ground operations, launch vehicle design, escape systems and operational history,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “Safety for our personnel was the driver for this analysis, and the team’s assessment was that this plan presents the least risk.”


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