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SpaceX launch: all the details of the new space mission


A new SpaceX launch is coming: four astronauts will depart for the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon capsule.

NASA and SpaceX Ready for Historic Launch 0:47

Austin, Texas (CNN Business) -

Four astronauts from three countries prepare to leave Earth this week aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

It is the third crewed flight in the history of Elon Musk's company, and the first by SpaceX to use a rocket booster and a spacecraft that has already flown.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on board is seen on the launch pad as preparations continue for the Crew-2 mission, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Kennedy Space Center in La NASA in Florida.

The details of the SpaceX launch

Friday's SpaceX launch will use the same booster rocket that powered the 2020 Demo-2 mission, as well as the same spacecraft, dubbed "Endeavor."

SpaceX has long been betting on reuse as the cornerstone of its business plan, in the hope that hardware recovery and refurbishment will lower the cost of spaceflight.

Although the company has reused the thrusters and spacecraft dozens of times in satellite and cargo launches in recent years, this will be the first time it has reused the hardware for a crewed mission.

SpaceX will take NASA in search of lunar water 0:40

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will join French astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of Japan.

They will spend six months aboard the International Space Station after their Crew Dragon capsule docks on Saturday morning.

From left to right, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, Pilot Megan McArthur and Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The journey is scheduled to begin at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, when they will climb into the capsule aboard one of SpaceX's 60-meter-high Falcon 9 rockets.

And, if there are no storms, the rocket will lift off at 5:49 am ET.

The astronauts' Crew Dragon will separate from the rocket shortly after reaching Earth orbit, traveling at speeds in excess of 27,000 kilometers per hour.

The crew will spend nearly a full day aboard the spacecraft as it slowly maneuvers toward the International Space Station, which is 21 years old and orbits about 400 kilometers above Earth.

SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts departing April 23 1:16

Crew Dragon is expected to dock with the International Space Station around 5:10 am ET Saturday.


Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet and Hoshide will join the seven astronauts already aboard the station.

Four of them arrived in another SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule in November.

The space station will have a total of 11 people, one of the largest crews the ISS has ever hosted.

But that number will quickly drop to seven when four more astronauts return home on April 28.

The work of NASA and SpaceX

NASA has been working to increase staffing aboard the 21-year-old space station for more than a decade, after the withdrawal of its space shuttle program in 2011 left the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as the only option to carry. and bring astronauts to the ISS.

The United States has been paying Russia up to $ 90 million per seat for those trips.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on board is seen as it exits the horizontal integration facility at the launch complex as preparations for the Crew-2 mission continue on April 16, 2021 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX worked for years with a fixed price contract of US $ 2.6 billion to develop its Crew Dragon spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Crew program, which for the first time in the history of the space agency gave the task to the private sector to build and test a crew-friendly spaceship.

SpaceX made history last May with the first manned launch of a Crew Dragon on a mission called Demo-2, which brought NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the ISS for a four-month stay.

A second manned SpaceX mission took off in November.

  • SpaceX wins nearly $ 2.9 billion contract with NASA for moon landing module

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

One of the main objectives of the astronauts' mission will be the study of "tissue chips", that is, "small models of human organs that contain multiple types of cells that behave in much the same way as they do in the body. ».

NASA hopes they will help advance drug and vaccine development, 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 understanding of how things work.

Who are the astronauts who will travel on the SpaceX mission?

McArthur is a space shuttle veteran and married to Behnken, who co-piloted SpaceX's historic Demo-2 mission last May.

McArthur told reporters over the weekend that he gained "years of experience" with the Crew Dragon vehicle as Behnken worked alongside SpaceX during the Crew Dragon development process.

In this Friday, April 16, 2021 photo provided by NASA, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft heads to Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-2 mission at the Center. NASA Kennedy Space Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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

McArthur will be joined by NASA's Kimbrough, a retired Army colonel and veteran of two previous missions to the ISS.

His fellow crew members, Hoshide from Japan and Pesquet from France, also have spaceflight experience.

1 of 11


Among the canned dishes that will be taken to the space are chocolate fudge, candied tomatoes with crunchy cereals, carrot clafoutis with smoked paprika and red quinoa with smoked beet with hazelnut, among other dishes.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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This is just a sample of the canned foods that were prepared at the Henaff Cannery by French chef Alain Ducasse's team for French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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A chef from the Ducasse team prepares a salmon cooked at a low temperature, which will be part of the dishes that will go into space.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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Space food must meet various standards given the limitations of life without gravity, so cooks and suppliers must comply with drastic hygiene measures and select foods that do not cause problems in the station environment.

Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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In addition, cooks should avoid bread that falls apart because according to the European Space Agency, they could float and obstruct the equipment.

That is why tortillas are more common in space than bread.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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In addition to including several main dishes, Chef Ducasse also included desserts.

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The meals were prepared by the Ducasse team and were later packed under strict security conditions.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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The "Advanced Systems Space Food" badge, which translates to "advanced systems space food," is worn by employees of the Henaff cannery in Pouldreuzic, France, where the food that will travel into space was prepared. on the Space Crew-12 mission.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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The CEO of the French company Henaff, Loic Henaff, poses near the photo of French astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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Beside a photograph framed and signed by the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet there is a dedication that reads "Thank you for the welcome and see you soon on new adventures."

The French astronaut is one of the members of the Space Crew-2 mission that will fly into space this week.

Credit: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP via Getty Images.

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From left to right you can see the crew of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

Beginning with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Credit: Aubrey Gemignani / NASA saw Getty Images.

Pesquet said he appreciated the opportunity to fly aboard the reconditioned booster rocket that helps lift the capsule into a vacuum.

The hardware, still covered in soot from his previous flights, allowed him and his fellow crew members to "draw our initials" on the side of the vehicle.

"I don't know if [the writing] will stick, but I thought it was really cool," he said.

International Space StationSpaceX

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-04-23

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