Saturday, 20 October, 2018

SpaceX Dragon cargo spaceship comes back to earth from ISS

In this illustration a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station for docking NASA will name 1st astronauts to fly commercial spacecraft to International Space Station
Andrew Wong | 08 August, 2018, 21:34

Boeing's first Starliner crew will include former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011.

On July 8, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis launched from Kennedy Space Center, marking the last time a USA astronaut was launched into space from American soil.

On the test flight for the Starliner will be: Eric Boe, a former space shuttle pilot who retired from the Air Force; Christopher Ferguson, a Boeing astronaut who left NASA in 2011; and Lt. Col. Nicole Mann of the Marine Corps.

Boe, a veteran NASA astronaut, has logged more than 28 days in space across two Space Shuttle missions.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. National Laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

"This is important for our country, we want America to know that we are back, that we are flying American astronauts into U.S. capsules from American soil", said Jim Bridenstine, the agency's administrator.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed the news, and tweeted, " NASA, which is making a BIG comeback under the Trump Administration, has just named 9 astronauts for Boeing and SpaceX space flights. "Today's announcement advances our great American vision and strengthens the nation's leadership in space", he added. NASA will only put astronauts on board once uncrewed flight tests have made the return journey to Earth and spacecraft systems have been validated by data reviews.

SpaceX's first crew tests will be manned by shuttle veterans Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.

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Each test flight will provide data on the performance of the rockets, spacecraft, ground systems, and operations to ensure the systems are safe to fly astronauts.

Set to command what is scheduled to be NASA's first launch of astronauts from USA soil in seven years is Chris Ferguson, a 56-year-old Philly-born space explorer.

Of the four crews named, two will launch test flight missions and two crews will launch to the International Space Station where they will live and work in space before returning to Earth in the crew vehicles. The cargo missions started in 2012.

When the Starliner approaches the International Space Station, the docking will be fully autonomous as the spacecraft manoeuvres toward an adapted docking port for commercial spacecraft.

Williams has spent 322 days aboard the International Space Station since becoming an astronaut in 1998. He's performed six spacewalks totaling almost 40 hours.

SpaceX is shooting for a test flight without passengers in November and a crew flight in April. Boe was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2000.

Victor Glover is from Pomona, California. The Boeing's first mission will be flown by Josh Cassada and Sunita Williams, and the SpaceX mission by Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins will fly aboard the Crew Dragon first mission.

"Future Commercial Crew astronauts will be riding to space on partner vehicles built by SpaceX & BoeingSpace", NASA said in a tweet.

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