SpaceX and NASA have spent years working on today’s Crew-1 mission, which is scheduled to launch from Florida at 7:27 p.m. EST (4:27 p.m. PST). This is the first time that SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket will be officially used as a spacecraft certified by NASA for human flight during a regular astronaut transport operation. NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will also be aboard the Dragon spacecraft and, barring weather delays, en route to the International Space Station later. Sunday night.

SpaceX has already transported people using Dragon – NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were honored to be the first humans to be launched onto the ISS aboard a commercial spacecraft when ‘they took part in SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission earlier this year. This was obviously a historic achievement, but it was also technically the last step in SpaceX’s test and demonstration program for Dragon and Falcon 9, when the current launch of Crew-1 can no longer be considered a test. Think of it this way: If Demo-2 was akin to the Wright Brothers’ Kitty Hawk flight, Crew-1 would be the equivalent of the first scheduled flight of an American commercial airline in 1914.

Crew-1 will be the first time a full complement of astronauts will fly on Dragon (there are six seats in total, but NASA has said it will only ever carry a maximum of four members of its crew from partner agency to the ISS on these flights). Astronauts will join the existing crew on the ISS for a regular tour of station experiments, maintenance and upgrades, which will also see the ISS workforce inflate with an additional astronaut for the first time. times in a standard rotation, which means more science. can be done depending on the agency.

The launch system is designed to operate in a fully automated fashion, which means that it does not require any action from the crew on board from launch to docking with the ISS. This is also true for the return trip, which will take place around next June.

SpaceX will also attempt to salvage the first stage thruster used in this launch, using its autonomous drone landing ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Everything should start closer to the target take-off time, but NASA will also have all-day programming related to the Crew-1 mission, the Dragon program and much more via the livestream above.

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