It’s time to get excited everyone
(that time is accurate to your time zone) the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon Crew Capsule will launch two Astronauts to the ISS. This will be the first time since July 8, 2011, the day the Space Shuttle last flew, that Astronauts will be launched from the US, and/or on a US made craft (with the sun what notable exception of Virgin Galactic and some of there test flights that made it to space, though this is certainly in something of a different class).
Doug Hurley will be the commander of the flight, and this guy has an awesome history. He started his flying career in the Marines, and flew the F18 for several years, and made three over seas deployments. After doing many things I’m glossing over for sake of time, and I highly recommend you look into, he attended the United States Navy Test Pilot School. He was assigned to a team testing the new F/A-18 Super Hornet, which he was the first Marine to fly. After all of this he was selected for the Astronaut program at which time he had 5,000 hours in 25 airframes. In 2009 he was the pilot (note, on Shuttle missions the pilot is more the co-pilot, the Commander is doing most of the flying so he would have been in the right seat, though this is in no way to diminish his achievement, no one wants to be only the co pilot for the Space Shuttle, so the names are changed a bit 🤪) for Shuttle mission STS-127, spending 15 days, 16 hours and 45 minuets in space. In 2011 he would return to Space aboard Shuttle Atlantis on STS-135. The 135th, and final flight of the Space Shuttle. Now, he will be commanding the mission this week, which will be the first mission on US soil since his last mission STS-135.
The Second astronaut aboard the capsule will be Rob Behnken. He has an almost as interesting story. He got a PHD in Mechanical Engineering, and joined the Air Force where he reached the rank of Colonial. In the Air Force he initially worked on new munitions systems before attending Air Force Test Pilots School for Test Engineers. He worked as a test engineer on the F22 program. As part of this he flew in the F15 and F16. He accumulated 1,500 hours on 25 airframes. He was selected to be an Astronaut for NASA in 2000, and flew in Shuttle missions STS-123, and STS-130 both times as a mission specialist. He accumulated 708 hours in space, including 37 in space walks.
The purpose of this mission is to launch the two Astronauts to the ISS safely, and is one of the final missions of the Crew dragon test program. If the mission is successful (which all indications are it will be) it will be a huge step for manned space flight. The first time in nearly a decade that astronauts will be launched from the US.
I’ll be posting regular updates as this story progress. Especially the day of launch. Can’t wait to see this happen, feel free to discuss all things Space X, and space flight below.
Image credit: NASA