Report By Nandika Chand | Kashmir Srinagar | Last Updated at May 27 2020
The United States is taking the nation’s space program a step further with its ‘first manned orbital mission’ set for May 27, in nearly a decade. And this also marks a first as a privately owned and operated spacecraft will be used.
NASA’s veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, both having twice flown to the International Space Station, will be part of this mission. According to CBSNews, the astronauts, in streamlined suits, will climb into a crew capsule called the Crew Dragon. Its also called a ‘Flying iPhone’. This new generation of spacecraft has been designed and built by SpaceX.
The company dedicated six crucial years to this project. In 2019, SpaceX did a full dress rehersal. It successfully launched the Crew Dragon, without crew on board, to the ISS. SpaceX also tested the capsule’s emergency escape system, giving the thumbs up that the Crew Dragon can carry people to safety if something goes wrong during the launch. But there were red flags too such as rocket failures and the explosion of a Crew Dragon capsule during a ground test. Since then, SpaceX has recovered from these setbacks and created a safer vehicle.
NASA’s Space Shuttle with astronauts on board last went into space on July 8, 2011. The US space agency flew its astronauts and international partners to the ISS on Russia’s Soyuz capsule which cost about $80 million per seat. Now, that it has its own capsule, Crew Dragon, NASA doesn’t have to rely on any other country.