So after years of developments and delays, spaceX crew Dragon is finally ready to launch into orbit.
It the first spacecraft built and operated commercially to do so, it set to launch just before midnight Pacific time — 2:49 Eastern time in Cape Canaveral, from where the Falcon 9 carrying the Crew Dragon capsule will take off.
It gonna be making use of Launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, which if you could previously hosted Apollo missions and more recently SpaceX’s momentous Falcon Heavy launch. The capsule has been worked on for many years and billions of dollars spent. Of course it had to meet extremely stringent safety requirements, with an emergency escape system, redundant thrusters and parachutes, newly designed spacesuits, more intuitive and modern control methods and so on.
This also serves as a competition to the russian Soyuz capsule that has been the only method to get humans to space for the last eight years, since the Shuttle program was grounded for good. But one thing Dragon doesn’t have is the Soyuz’s exemplary flight record. The latter may look like an aircraft cockpit shrunk down to induce claustrophobia, but it has proven itself over and over for decades. The shock produced by a recent aborted launch and the quickness with which the Soyuz resumed service are testament to the confidence it has engendered in its users.
The test will be the first time the Crew Dragon will fly to space, suborbital flights and landing tests have already taken place, but this is a dry run of the real thing. Well, not completely dry: the capsule is carrying 400 pounds of supplies to the station and will return with some science experiments on board. After launch it should take about 11 minutes for the capsule to detach from the first and second stages of the Falcon 9 rocket. It docks about 27 hours later, early Sunday morning, and the crew will be able to get at the goodies just in time for brunch, if for some reason they’re operating on East Coast time.
And also spaceX would be filming the launch as usual