NASA SpaceX crew mission cleared to launch

A handout photo made available by NASA shows the crew access arm is swung into position for the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. EPA-EFE/BILL INGALLS / NASA / HANDOUT

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Key officials at the American space agency (NASA) and private launch firm SpaceX have signed off next week’s historic mission to the space station.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will ride to orbit from Florida – the first time in nine years that humans have left Earth from US territory.

A review panel has found no technical reason to delay the mission.

SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket with its Dragon capsule is set to lift off at 16:33 EDT (21:33 BST) on Wednesday.

SpaceX Demo-2 Rollout
 A handout photo made available by NASA shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled out of the horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA.

The decision of the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) panel opens the way for final launch preparations to proceed.

“We did a thorough review of all the systems and all the risks, and it was unanimous on the board that we are ‘go for launch’,” said Stephen Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator, who chaired the FRR.

Next Wednesday’s mission will be the first human spaceflight to launch from American soil since 2011, when NASA’s space shuttle fleet was retired.

SpaceX Demo-2 Static Fire
A handout photo made available by NASA shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. EPA-EFE/NASA/Joel Kowsky

Since then, its astronauts have only be able to fly to the ISS from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, using expensive Russian Soyuz rockets costing up to $86m (£70m) per seat.

As part of NASA’s commercial crew programme, two US-based companies – Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing – are going to return this human spaceflight capability to American soil with far cheaper seat costs.

It will cost $55m for SpaceX and $70m  for Boeing.

Read more via BBC/SpaceX

 

 

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