SpaceX’s first manned and official flight will take place on November 14th, NASA announced. On this occasion, the Crew Dragon capsule will transport four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Four astronauts on board
The launch window announced by the US Space Agency is on Saturday, November 14th (Sunday, November 15 at 12:49 p.m. KST) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:49 p.m. Of course, this date can change for many reasons, for example because of the start of the Demo 2 mission, which had to be finally postponed to the last moment due to bad weather.
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The Crew 1 mission will transport NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins as well as Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the ISS. Powered by a reusable Falcon 9 launcher that transports the Crew Dragon capsule into orbit, they will then join cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and American astronaut Kate Rubins on board the station. The crew will thus increase from six to seven residents, so that they can do more scientific research.
Successful commercial crew program
This launch marks the beginning of manned flights under the Commercial Crew Program, a contract between NASA, SpaceX and Boeing that allows the two private companies to serve as the means of transportation for the American Agency’s astronauts no longer depend on Russia and its Soyuz from. Boeing has fallen far behind Elon Musk’s company, however, as it failed the final test on its Starliner capsule. The Crew Dragon capsule can accommodate up to 7 passengers and is equipped with touch screens. It is a real technological jewel that has proven itself in the demo 2 test.
Now Elon Musk wants to focus all the energy of his business on Starship, a powerful launcher designed to ultimately transport people to the moon and Mars. NASA is also in the process of pondering the lunar lander it will use during the Artemis mission, and Starship might be the lucky one. The launcher, which will also be reusable, is only at the prototype stage, but Elon Musk is already envisioning it will leave Earth for Mars in 2024.