Away from all talk of Coronavirus, here’s a story you may have missed this evening. Space X is set for a historic launch tonight, the first private company to take humans space.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to launch two Nasa astronauts as part of the DEMO2, final test at 9.33pm tonight from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre.
Charted by NASA, Musk launches a new era in spaceflight tonight with what is essentially, a private “taxi” with crew members Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken – two of Nasa’s most experienced astronauts, exclusively taking the ride. It’s the final test before NASA certify the technology for their own use.
It heralds the dawn of a new era in commercial space flights with NASA’s Space shuttle now officially redundant. This is also the first time NASA will send astronauts from US soil since 2011. A return to spaceflight.
Have to say….The whole endeavour also looks a little ‘cooler‘ than what we’ve all been used to when it comes to rocket launches! The Falcon 9 rocket has components, which unlike NASA, land back on Earth and can be reused, greatly reducing the cost of future missions. The ‘Starman’ space suits have been redesigned and are no longer the huge clunky outfits we’ve all grown used to seeing in old Apollo reels. There’s a new ‘roomy’ capsule for the astronauts named ‘Dragon’ packed with latest 21st Century technology, which will sit on top of a Falcon Heavy rocket, Musk’s own creation. With Musk being the owner of Tesla, there was only 1 way for the astronauts to get to the launchpad this evening…..in Tesla gul wing cars!
President Trump has arrived to watch the launch and as we write this, the astronauts are in the closed capsule doing prelaunch checks. Officials are watching the weather, however. It’s possible the launch site could see thick cloud, rain and even thunder.
All being well with this test, the next flight will see astronauts docking with the ISS. YOU can give that a try, right here on Space X docking simulator. (We’ve crashed every time!) https://iss-sim.spacex.com
You can watch the full DEMO2 launch LIVE tonight here https://www.spacex.com/launches/
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