SpaceX, in coordination with NASA, will attempt to become the first commercial aerospace company to send humans to space Wednesday afternoon


According to CNN, SpaceX and NASA plan to launch a pair of NASA astronauts into Earth’s orbit Wednesday afternoon. This would be the first flight to space on American soil since 2011, and the first flight through a commercial aerospace company. Experienced astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are to board the flight, called the Crew Dragon, and take off from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at precisely 4:33 pt ET ( NASA plans for Behnken and Hurley to fly to the International Space Station and stay there for about one to three months in order to sustain American influence in space. Then another shuttle in the Crew Dragon series will fly back and replace them with new astronauts. ~

The Crew Dragon is a gumdrop-shaped capsule that is about 13 feet in diameter and is equipped with seven seats and touchscreen controls. It, along with the astronauts, will sit atop the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and will be separated after launch for the Crew Dragon to begin its flight to the International Space Station. The Crew Dragon is designed to be completely automated from control centers inside NASA. This allows Behnken and Hurley to only worry about checking systems and ensuring that everything is running smoothly. The Crew Dragon is only the “fifth spacecraft design — after the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle vehicles — that NASA has certified as safe enough for humans’ ‘ (CNN). ~

According to NASA, there is a sixty percent chance of flyable weather Wednesday. If weather does not permit a launch, the launch will take place either May 30 or May 31. This launch will cost NASA fifty-five million dollars as opposed to the previous cost of travel of up to eighty-six million dollars per launch in Russia. In addition to the cost deficit, this launch allows for the United States to launch commercial space programs in alliance with NASA, which may be the launch point for future commercial space travel. ~

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