Download: Release the Dragon!
As nine years of work boils down to next Wednesday, May 27, space enthusiasts from all around the world start to prepare for the most important launch in the past decade. SpaceX will demonstrate their Crew Dragon capability by launching American astronauts, Douglas Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station as a partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This launch is important because it is the first time that NASA has launched American astronauts from an American rocket from American soil since the Space Shuttle program! But also, if this launch succeeds, it will prove that commercial space companies and reusable rockets have the capability to truly change human spaceflight forever.
The @SpaceX Crew Dragon is rolled out to the launch pad and raised vertical ahead of the launch of @NASA astronauts @AstroBehnken & @Astro_Doug from @NASAKennedy to the @Space_Station. More #LaunchAmerica Photos: https://t.co/8due5jBg5Y pic.twitter.com/OeAeMIjxsh
— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) May 21, 2020
On May 20, both astronauts arrived at Kennedy Space Center in preparations for the big day. Just a day later, May 21, Falcon 9 and Dragon were mated and raised vertical on Launch Complex 39A for an upcoming static fire.
NASA and SpaceX will conduct a Flight Readiness Review to resolve any final issues before launch day. On May 25, NASA will host a press conference to discuss the results of the Flight Readiness Review.
— Chris G – NSF (@ChrisG_NSF) May 20, 2020
SpaceX is closely watching weather conditions for the 27th. According to Benji Reed, the SpaceX Director of Crew Management, says there is a “very high chance of scrub due to the weather.” If the mission is in fact delayed, the next available date is presumably three days later, May 30th. It is clear that SpaceX will be taking all of the precautions necessary for their first crewed launch.
In preparations for the launch, SpaceX also released some new infographics for the mission layout. It is similar to SpaceX’s Commercial Resupply Service missions.