New step for SpaceX and Nasa, on Wednesday, march 27. The mission " Demo-2 ", conducted by the firm of Elon Musk at Kennedy space center of Nasa, is to test, for the first time in the space with passengers, the capsule Crew Dragon developed by the company, and to take astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the international space Station (ISS).
In march 2019, only a mannequin had taken a place for a rehearsal which had been successful. This time, Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53 years old, former military pilot and joined Nasa in 2000, will be aboard. The two men, in quarantine for two weeks, will wake up to 9 hours (15 hours in France) and will have the breakfast of their choice, according to Nasa, very anxious to respect the traditions of human spaceflight.
The hatch closed almost 2 hours before take-off
about 12: 30 (18: 30 in France), the astronauts will be their combinations, designed by SpaceX, then they will not launch number 39A, in an electric car Tesla, the car company created by Elon Musk. They will rise to the top of the not of launch and settled into the capsule, Crew Dragon. An hour and 55 minutes before take-off at 14: 38, the hatch will be closed. The last moment to postpone the flight due to bad time is 45 minutes before takeoff, according to Hans Koenigsmann of SpaceX. Then the tanks of kerosene and liquid oxygen of the rocket will be filled.
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A return probably in early August
Crew Dragon will continue its run with the second floor, which will separate at T + 12 minutes. If the rocket had a problem, Crew Dragon is equipped with a system of automatic ejection : the powerful engines can propel her quickly away from the rocket, so that it falls in the ocean. A great rescue device is expected along the atlantic coast and up off the coast of Ireland, according to the timing where the ejection would take place and the place where Crew Dragon amerrirait : helicopters and planes with rescuers of skydivers will be on alert to go out to rescue the astronauts.
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once in orbit, the astronauts will conduct various tests of the capsule, because it is a mission of trial. For 19 hours, Crew Dragon will approach the international space Station (ISS), which file to 27 000 km/h around the Earth, to a little over 400 km above the oceans. She stops in the vicinity of the ISS, for final connections and checks, and then amarrera automatically. The two men will be welcomed by the three current occupants : the American Chris Cassidy and Russians Anatoly Ivanichine and Ivan Vagner.
The duration of the stay has not been set, but the Crew Dragon has a maximum capacity of 114 days or 16 weeks. Jim Bridenstine, the head of Nasa, said that the crew could return in early August. After detached from the ISS, Crew Dragon will make his comeback in the atmosphere, protected by its heat shield, to land in the Atlantic, off the Florida coast, slowed by four large parachutes, the same method as for the capsules Apollo, which ended in the Pacific.