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Crew-1 launches four astronauts to the ISS

7:27PM Est, atop a Falcon 9 rocket from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center

For the first time in history NASA has certified a human-rated commercial space system. Originally slated for Oct. 23rd, then pushed to Halloween and then to mid-November to give SpaceX time to replace two of the nine Merlin 1D engines inside the Falcon 9 rocket. The first stage booster itself will be reused on the Crew-2 flight in the springtime which is the cause for the latest delay. Sea conditions in the recovery zone where not deemed safe enough for a landing. Reusing the boosters is a key component in the SpaceX program. Saving millions of dollars per launch, so they attempt to recover every first stage booster possible. To date they have successfully recovered 64 first stage boosters, with over 100 successful launches.

For the Crew-1 mission, NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be spending six months in the ISS (International Space Station).

Hopkins, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force was selected as an astronaut in 2009 and has spent 166 days total in space with almost 13 hours of accumulated spacewalks. Victor Glover, a commander in the U.S. Navy was selected as an astronaut in 2013, but this will be his first spaceflight. He has accumulated more than three thousand hours flying over forty different aircraft, including twenty-four combat missions. Walker who has a Ph.D. has worked for NASA’s spaceflight program for nearly 20yrs now, being selected as an astronaut in 2004. Her first mission to space was ten years ago in 2010 and she has since spent 163 days total in orbit. Our fourth crew member, Soichi Noguchi, who also holds a Ph.D. has flown to space twice now, and was selected by the National Space Development Agency of Japan back in 1996. His first mission was aboard STS-114 “return to flight” in 2005. The first mission to launch since the Columbia disaster two years prior.

Brevard county is expecting as many as 500,000 people to come out and watch the launch in person. NASA hasn’t tried to stop them either this time. They’ve only advised spectators to wear masks and socially distance. Crowds estimated at 200,000 came into Brevard county for the DM-2 launch last May, where the first astronauts in almost a decade took off from American soil. The revenue brought in during those few days is estimated around 28 million dollars, so it seems this time the county isn’t trying to stop people, rather accept they will come and make the most of things.

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