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April 27 – May 3, 2020 / Vol 39, No 17 / Hawai`i Island, USA

24 Apr 2020, 20:15 UTC
April 27 – May 3, 2020 / Vol 39, No 17 / Hawai`i Island, USA
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

‘New Era of Human Spaceflight’ as SpaceX Poised to Reestablish USA Space Access

Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission (DM-2) will mark both the first time humans are to be taken to orbit by a private company and the long-awaited return of crewed launches from USA. Lifted by Falcon 9, DM-2 is to depart from KSC Launch Pad 39A to ISS May 27 at 16:32 EDT. NASA astronaut Doug Hurley’s leadership will bookend this auspicious historical interval, having piloted the last Space Shuttle mission STS-135 Atlantis and set to be Spacecraft Commander of DM-2. Bob Behnken will serve as Operations Commander, focusing on rendezvous and docking directly to ISS Harmony Module. Interestingly, space exploration is a family pursuit for Hurley and Behnken, as they are married to Astronauts Karen Nyberg and Megan MacArthur. Established just prior to the 2011 cessation of the Space Shuttle program as Commercial Crew Development, Boeing and SpaceX were granted contracts to fly NASA Astronauts in 2014. An uncrewed test flight of Boeing Starliner Dec 2019, showing possibility of ‘catastrophic’ software error, requires retesting. SpaceX will need to demonstrate parachute system readiness and account for a Merlin engine failure during Starlink 5 deployment prior to DM-2. Meanwhile, Blue ...

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