We cannot yet speak of the success of the first manned mission to a space home in many years from the US. NASA finally revealed the date of this great event.
The first day of August is the time when fans of SpaceX and the US space industry from around the world will hold their breath. Then the Dragon-2 capsule is to disconnect from the International Space Station and embark on a dangerous journey towards Earth. The astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be on board again.
As NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on his Twitter profile, the astronauts will spend 2 months on board the space house. Earlier information appeared that their mission would last until the end of August, but the agency finally decided to return them a little earlier.
Now we can only keep our fingers crossed for the successful completion of the return mission. It will not be an easy task, because the astronauts will have a hot flight through the Earth's atmosphere, and then land in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, from where they will be later intercepted by a special division of the Space Forces, which is responsible for the safety of astronauts related to returning from orbit.
Let us recall that the launch of the mission took place on May 30 from the famous LC-39A platform, the same platform from which more than 50 years ago, flights to the moon were carried out under the Apollo program. A few minutes after the launch of the Falcon-9 rocket, the main part of the rocket successfully landed on a mobile platform, floating on the faults of the Atlantic Ocean. It will be used in future endeavors. Thanks to this, this mission was incomparably cheaper than those from the times of the shuttle, and even recently, carried out by the Russian Sojuzy.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are the first astronauts to arrive at the Station from the United States in 9 years, i.e. since the end of the shuttle era, and the first in history to fly into space aboard a capsule built by a private company. In the meantime, the astronauts could only fly into Earth's orbit in Russian-owned Soyuz ships. They took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The next launch of the Falcon-9 rocket is planned for September. This time, there will be four astronauts aboard the Dragon-2 capsule, whose target will also be the International Space Station. In the shadow of the successful flight of the Dragon-2 manned capsule to the ISS, SpaceX is building a far more powerful transport system for astronauts.
We are talking about the Starship. It will transport astronauts not only between the Earth's surface and the Moon, but also between the Lunar Space Port (successor to the International Space Station) and the Moon's surface. Elon Musk recently announced that there will also be a modified version of the Dragon capsule marked XL. According to the plan, the vehicle is to deliver supplies to the Lunar Space Port.
In addition to SpaceX, the manned capsule is also being built by Boeing, and the small shuttle by Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA will also have its vehicle in the form of Orion. The success of the first commercial manned flight means that the Americans have regained independence in flights to the Space Station. It is also the first step to launching cheap flights for each of us, for example to space hotels that are to be built in Earth's orbit in the future.