Space

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 lifts off on historic mission

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-1 lift...
Crew Demo-1 lifting off
Crew Demo-1 lifting off
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Crew Demo-1 had no astronauts aboard
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Crew Demo-1 had no astronauts aboard
Crew Demo-1 had an instantaneous launch window
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Crew Demo-1 had an instantaneous launch window
Crew Demo-1 preparing for first stage shutdown
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Crew Demo-1 preparing for first stage shutdown
Flight path of Crew Demo-1 in time lapse image
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Flight path of Crew Demo-1 in time lapse image
Crew Demo-1 lifting off
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Crew Demo-1 lifting off
Crew Demo-1 with the gantry tilting away
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Crew Demo-1 with the gantry tilting away
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The United States took a major step toward returning to manned spaceflight when SpaceX's Crew Demo-1 mission lifted off today at 2:49 am EST atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The demonstration flight is unmanned, but carries a test dummy as the spacecraft heads for a Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS).

Though SpaceX's Dragon cargo ships have flown to the ISS 16 times, Crew Demo-1 is a significant advance. The Crew Dragon is one of two spacecraft, along with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner, that NASA is funding as part of its Commercial Crew Program to return the launching of manned missions from American soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011.

Unlike the Dragon, the Crew Dragon and its launcher are man-rated. That is, they are designed to carry astronauts safely into orbit and return them to Earth. The capsule is equipped with a life support system and an emergency abort system. In addition, the spacecraft and launcher are engineered to a very high level of reliability and keep all accelerations and vibrations well within the limits of human tolerances.

Crew Demo-1 preparing for first stage shutdown
Crew Demo-1 preparing for first stage shutdown

Currently, the Crew Dragon is carrying out a series of orbital maneuvers that will allow it to rendezvous with the space station at about 6:00 am EST (11:00 GMT) on Sunday, March 3. The spacecraft is designed to operate autonomously, though it is equipped with manual controls that will allow a pilot to take over in an emergency when it starts carrying passengers.

The Crew Dragon is loaded with 400 lb (181 kg) of supplies and equipment. In addition, one of the astronaut seats is a test dummy called "Ripley," which has built-in sensors to gather biometric data. The capsule will remain docked to the station until March 8, when it will return for a splashdown and recovery in the Pacific Ocean.

After the launch, SpaceX made a successful nighttime powered landing of the Falcon 9 first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The video below is a replay of the launch live stream.

Source: SpaceX

Crew Demo-1 Mission | Launch

View gallery - 6 images
2 comments
Babaghan
This is Ripley, last survivor the the Crew Dragon, signing off.
EZ
Why is it that everything 'spacey' is magnificent, mind boggling or amazing? Some people think it's a huge waste of money. We can't even fix what we have destroyed on earth due to the money being hog-tied to 'space.'