SpaceX launches astronauts on recycled capsule and 'flight-proven' rocket

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Spaceflight Now 23 April, 2021 - 11:25am 16 views

What time does spacex launch?

SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station early Friday morning, marking the Elon Musk-led company's second regular flight there with humans aboard. The launch took place 5:49 a.m. Eastern time from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Los Angeles TimesSpaceX launches astronauts to space station

Where did spacex launch from today?

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. The SpaceX rocket launched from Cape Canaveral at 5:49 a.m. carrying astronauts four astronauts -- two American, one Japanese and one European — who make up the Crew-2 mission, inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endeavour. WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlandoWhat were those white flashes in the sky after SpaceX’s Crew-2 launch? We explain

Did spacex launch this morning?

Liftoff happened at 5:49 a.m. – SpaceX launched four astronauts from NASA's Kennedy Space Center early Friday morning on the company's third mission carrying humans to the International Space Station. WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlandoRE-WATCH: Flawless SpaceX launch with 4 astronauts from Kennedy Space Center

What time is the rocket launch today?

The launch is scheduled for 5:49 a.m. Florida TodayIt’s (almost) launch day! NASA, SpaceX to send astronauts to space station from Kennedy Space Center

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SpaceX has launched its third crew in under a year for NASA, this time using a recycled rocket and capsule.

A Falcon rocket carrying four astronauts blasted toward orbit early Friday morning from Central Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The Dragon capsule should reach the International Space Station on Saturday.

It’s the same capsule that carried up the first SpaceX crew last May. And the rocket hoisted the second crew in November. SpaceX founder Elon Musk met briefly with the U.S., French and Japanese astronauts before they headed to the launch pad.

The astronauts were supposed to fly to the International Space Station on Thursday. But liftoff was delayed because of poor weather offshore. SpaceX's Dragon capsule requires calm waves and winds in case an emergency splashdown is needed on the climb to orbit.

Friday's SpaceX launch will make use of the same rocket booster that powered the 2020 Demo-2 mission, as well as the same spacecraft, dubbed "Endeavour." SpaceX has long made reusability a cornerstone of its business plan, hoping that recovering and refurbishing hardware will drive down the cost of spaceflight. Though the company has re-flown boosters and spacecraft dozens of times on satellite and cargo launches over the past several years, this will mark the first time the company will reuse hardware for a crewed mission.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur are joined by French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, and Akihiko Hoshide from Japan. They'll spend six months aboard the International Space Station after their Crew Dragon capsule docks early Saturday morning.

The astronauts' Crew Dragon separated from the rocket shortly after reaching Earth's orbit — traveling at speeds topping 17,000 miles per hour — and the crew will spend nearly a full day aboard the spacecraft as it slowly maneuvers toward the 21-year-old International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles above ground.

The Crew Dragon is expected to dock with the ISS around 5:10 am ET Saturday.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet, and Hoshide will join seven astronauts already on board the station, four of whom arrived on a different SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in November. That'll put the space station's total staff at 11 — one of the largest crews the ISS has ever hosted. But that number will quickly drop back down to seven when four other astronauts hitch a ride home from the station on April 28.

NASA has spent more than a decade working to boost staffing aboard the 21-year-old space station after the retirement of its Space Shuttle program in 2011 left Russia's Soyuz spacecraft as the only option for getting astronauts to and from the ISS. The United States had been paying Russia as much as $90 million per seat for those trips.

For years, SpaceX worked under a $2.6 billion fixed-price contract to develop its Crew Dragon spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Crew program, which for the first time in space agency history handed over the task of building and testing a crew-worthy spacecraft to the private sector. SpaceX made history last May with the first crewed launch of a Crew Dragon on a mission called Demo-2, which carried NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the ISS for a four-month stay. A second crewed SpaceX mission took off in November.

(Boeing is working under a similar contract to develop its own capsule for the program, called Starliner, though it is still in the testing phase.)

A prime focus of the astronauts' mission will be to study "tissue chips," or "small models of human organs containing multiple cell types that behave much the same as they do in the body" and that NASA hopes will advance the development of drugs and vaccines, according to the space agency. That work will build on years of studying biological and other scientific phenomena aboard the ISS, where the microgravity environment can give scientists a better fundamental understanding of how something works.

McArthur is a Space Shuttle veteran and is married to Behnken, who co-piloted SpaceX's historic Demo-2 mission last May. McArthur told reporters over the weekend that she was able to get "years of experience" with the Crew Dragon vehicle as Behnken worked alongside SpaceX during the Crew Dragon development process.

"I had several years, really, of learning from him along the way," McArthur, who will pilot the Crew-2 mission and holds a doctorate in oceanography, said.

McArthur will be joined by NASA's Kimbrough, a retired Army colonel and a veteran of two previous ISS missions. Their crewmates, Japan's Hoshide and France's Pesquet, both have prior spaceflight experience as well.

Pesquet said he appreciated the chance to fly aboard the refurbished rocket booster that helps lift the capsule into the void. The weathered hardware still covered in soot from their prior flights, allowed him and his crewmates to to "draw our initials" on the side of the vehicle.

"I don't know if [the writing] is gonna stick, but I've found it really cool," he said.

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Read full article at Spaceflight Now

SpaceX to fly astronauts for the 3rd time TOMORROW aboard capsule used in the 'Launch America'

Daily Mail 23 April, 2021 - 04:00pm

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com and Associated Press

SpaceX is aiming to launch its third crew to the International Space Station (ISS) just before the sun rises Friday, but unlike the previous missions, Crew-2 will be the first to use a recycled capsule and rocket.

The four astronauts, from three different global space agencies including the US, Japan and France, are scheduled to blast off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:49am ET. 

The Falcon 9 rocket that flew Crew-1 will be used, along with the Crew Dragon Capsule that housed Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in May 2020 - a launch that brought spaceflight back to US soil.

What may be more exciting is Behnken's wife, Megan McArthur, will be seated in the same seat of the capsule that took her husband from Earth to the ISS. 

Being assigned to the Endeavour was 'a neat surprise, and kind of a fun twist on the whole thing,' McArthur, who is also pointing the Crew Dragon Capsule, told Business Insider.

'I'm going to launch in the same seat. So that is kind of a fun thing that we can share, you know, I can tease him and say, 'Hey, Can you hand over the keys? I'm ready now to go.'

SpaceX is aiming to launch its third crew to the International Space Station (ISS) just before the sun rises Friday, but unlike the previous missions, Crew-2 will be the first to use a recycled capsule and rocket

Crew-2 was scheduled to blast off Thursday, but unfavorable weather along the Atlantic coast forced officials to delay it until the early Friday morning.

NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk told reporters: 'For crewed missions we need to look downrange to make sure weather's good for a potential launch escape, and for recovery of the crew.'

For a launch April 23, the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff of the Crew-2 mission based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. 

For the first time, Elon Musk´s company is launching astronauts with a previously flown capsule and rocket, just as it's done for station supply runs

The four astronauts, from three different global space agencies including the US, Japan and France, are scheduled to blast off at 5:49am ET. (left to right) Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, Megan McArthur of NASA, Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The Crew Dragon Capsule set to shuttle the crew into orbit is the same used by Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley May 2020 - a launch that brought spaceflight back to US soil

 This crew capsule launched with SpaceX´s first crew last May, in what was dubbed 'Launch America.'

This was the first time in nine years that NASA astronauts launched in an American rocket to the ISS, as well as taking off from US soil. 

Behnken and Hurley also blasted off during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic - so the mission brought some hope back to the US and maybe even the world. 

This crew capsule launched with SpaceX´s first crew last May, in what was dubbed 'Launch America.' Pictured is Robert Behnken (left) and Douglas Hurley (right)

Jim Bridenstine, who was the NASA Administrator at the time, said in a May press conference: 'Maybe there´s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times.'  

And the same capsule will again take astronauts to the ISS.

The Crew-2 mission will carry four astronauts in the second routine taxi ride by SpaceX to ISS since the United States resumed crewed space flight, and the first with a European.

It involves US astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)'s Akihiko Hoshide, and the European Space Agency (ESA)'s Thomas Pesquet, who is French. 

The Crew-2 mission will carry four astronauts in the second routine taxi ride by SpaceX to ISS since the United States resumed crewed space flight, and the first with a European

SpaceX Crew 2 members, from left, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide gather at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral on April 16

'This is the third launch in less than a year: Demo-2, Crew-1, and now Crew-2,' Jurczyk said during a pre-launch media briefing on Wednesday. 

'I could not be more proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams.'

NASA's spacecraft commander Kimbrough and his crew will spend six months at the space station, replacing four astronauts who will return next Wednesday in their own SpaceX capsule, parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico near Tallahassee, Florida.

However, during those six months Pesquet plans to dine like a king with a smorgasbord of treats that are unlike any space food before. 

However, during those six months Pesquet plans to dine like a king with a smorgasbord of treats that are unlike any space food before. The French astronaut is brining along lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears

He and his crewmates will feast on dishes prepared by three separate French culinary institutions, but the meals are only for special occasions. Pictured are chefs preparing the meals for orbit

The French astronaut is brining along lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears, The New York Times reports.

'There's a lot of expectations when you send a Frenchman into space,' Pesquet said during a European Space Agency news conference last month. 'I'm a terrible cook myself, but it's OK if people are doing it for me.'

 He and his crewmates will feast on dishes prepared by three separate French culinary institutions, but the meals are only for special occasions. 

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