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NASA Certifies SpaceX To Fly Humans On Crew Dragon Spaceship

by : Hannah Smith on : 11 Nov 2020 10:10
NASA Certifies SpaceX To Fly Humans On Crew Dragon SpaceshipPA

In a key milestone for space exploration, NASA yesterday, November 10, announced it has certified SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship for manned missions.

The Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon human spaceflight system is the first commercial spacecraft in history to achieve the landmark, which was the product of two days worth of inspections and reviews conducted by NASA experts and officials. In another sign of just how rare and impressive this achievement is, it is the first time in almost 40 years that NASA has certified a new system for manned spaceflight. The last system to be approved for regular flights carrying astronauts was the space shuttle program in 1981.

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Crew Dragon is now officially cleared to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. SpaceX achieved the certification after successfully executing a crewed demonstration test flight in May 2020, which was a historic event in its own right. The Crew Dragon Demo-2 test flight marked the first crewed flight launched from the United States since the last space shuttle flight in 2001, the first two-person flight launched from the US since 1982, and the first crewed commercial flight in history.

SpaceX Crew Dragon RocketSpaceX

The certification comes just days ahead of the planned launch date for SpaceX’s first crew rotation mission to the space station. On Saturday, November 14, the Crew Dragon ‘Resilience’ spacecraft is set to carry 3 NASA astronauts and one Japanese mission specialist to the ISS, launching from the same 39a launch pad at Kennedy Space Centre that saw Apollo 11 take flight more than 50 years ago.

In a press release, SpaceX laid out just how much work has gone into preparing for this landmark occasion. The company says it performed more than 700 tests of the spacecraft’s SuperDraco engines, 500 docking system tests, roughly eight million hours of hardware and software testing, and nearly 100 tests of Dragon’s parachute system.

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The company said:

Human spaceflight is SpaceX’s core mission, and we take seriously the responsibility that NASA has entrusted in us to safely carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. We are humbled to help NASA usher in a new era of space exploration.

SpaceX

While carrying humans aboard the Crew Dragon is a new chapter for the company, SpaceX does have the benefit of drawing on data gained from the 20 cargo missions they have previously conducted to and from the ISS.

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If successful, Saturday’s launch will be the culmination of a ten-year, $6 billion effort by NASA to once again see astronauts launching into space from US soil.

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Topics: Technology, Crew Dragon, ISS, NASA, Now, Space, SpaceX, Tech

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Business Insider
  1. Business Insider

    NASA finally certified SpaceX to fly astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship, just days before its next launch