NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley (right) are scheduled to take off on May 27 aboard a SpaceX rocket. It will be the first American human flight since 2011. - AFP

Ready for takeoff. The Space X Crew Dragon mission has received the green light from NASA for the launch next Wednesday of two American astronauts. This Space X rocket flight will be the first American human space flight since 2011. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will take off on May 27 at 4:33 pm (Florida time) aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, heading for the Space Station international (ISS), where they will moor the next day.

"Doug is ready for everything all the time. He's always prepared. Knowing you're going to fly into space on a test mission, you couldn't ask for a better person ... to be there with you." @AstroBehnken is thankful for @Astro_Doug:

- NASA (@NASA) May 22, 2020

It will be the first 100% American manned mission since the end of the space shuttles in 2011 after 30 years of service. Since then, only the Russians had had a means of space transportation and dozens of American astronauts (and other countries) learned Russian and traveled aboard Soyuz rockets, departing from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, to return to the station, permanently occupied since 2000 by Americans and Russians.

Five years of training on the Crew Dragon capsule

NASA has financed since the presidency of Barack Obama SpaceX ($ 3.1 billion in contracts) and separately Boeing ($ 4.9 billion) in order to give the United States independent access to space. The program was originally scheduled to take over from the shuttles in 2015.

A delay that Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, already deemed in 2010 "humiliating and unacceptable". Ultimately, the hole will have lasted nearly nine years, provided that the SpaceX flight goes well.

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have been training for five years on the Crew Dragon capsule, an ultra-modern pendant of Apollo capsules from the 1960s. Inside, everything is controlled by touch screens. Like Apollo, Crew Dragon will return to land on Earth.

The previous mission with a mannequin was a success 

The SpaceX and Boeing companies will each have to make six trips by four astronauts to the ISS in the coming years, not counting the demonstration mission.

If SpaceX, founded in 2002 by then millionaire Elon Musk (he is now a billionaire), succeeded in this mission, called Demo-2 following Demo-1, which went off without incident in March 2019 with a model on board, it would become the first private company in space history to have transported astronauts to the ISS.


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