NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley almost launched into space — but at the end, it didn’t happen due to last-minute bad weather that just did not let up for the first crewed SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that was supposed to lift off on a Falcon 9 rocket Wednesday afternoon (May 27 2020) from the Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
The astronauts will — hopefully on Saturday when they try again — spend an extended stay at the International Space Station for the Demo-2 Mission.
A new era of human space flight will eventually begin once the rocket finally lifts off with American astronauts flying on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
This will be the first time since the last flight of the Space Shuttle in 2011, that US astronauts will go into orbit from American soil.
The specific duration of the mission is yet to be determined.
The Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission is intended to finish the validation process for human-rated spaceflight operations on SpaceX spacecraft.
The demonstration flight will allow for human-rated certification of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the Falcon 9 rocket, the crew transportation system, launch pad, and SpaceX’s capabilities.
The Dragon spacecraft is capable of carrying up to seven passengers to and from Earth orbit, and beyond. It is the only spacecraft currently flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. Once the launch takes off, it will become the first private spacecraft to take humans to the space station.
The first stage booster will attempt to land on the floating barge ‘Of Course I Still Love You’, in the Atlantic Ocean. Upon returning to Earth, the Crew Dragon capsule will parachute into the Atlantic Ocean.