Reuters04 May 2020 09:21:20 IST
Two NASA astronauts prepare to ride the new SpaceX space taxi will now be on a mission scheduled to last more than a month, instead of a week, to assist the crew on the International Space Station , the American space agency announced Friday. .
The launch is scheduled for May 27 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and will arrive at the ISS the next day. The mission, the first to transport humans from SpaceX, marks the company’s climate test before NASA can certify its Crew Dragon capsule for scheduled operational flights.
Space shuttle veterans Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are expected to be the first astronauts launched from American soil since the end of the shuttle program in 2011.
Mission expansion allows Hurley and Behnken to help replace station batteries, a task that requires a spacewalk that current US resident on the ISS, Chris Cassidy, could not do only.
The two astronauts embraced the mission extension, Hurley saying it could last from one to four months.
“I think it’s in summer, hopefully, with a launch date on May 27, we’re having a good time so my son can follow the mission a little closer than he would he was in school, ”says Behnken.
SpaceX and Boeing Co received a total of $ 7 billion to build separate crew transport systems as part of the Commercial Crew program, NASA’s flagship campaign to use the private sector for ISS missions and reduce its dependence on the Russian Soyuz rocket.
“We currently support the station with the bare minimum,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Friday. “Without the presence of Behnken and Hurley, we would likely delay such an operation until additional NASA crew members are available. “
Kirk Shireman, director of NASA’s ISS program, told reporters on Friday that the agency was basing Hurley and Behnken’s mission duration on how quickly SpaceX can complete preparations for its next capsule.
Delays in the development of SpaceX and Boeing vehicles have led NASA to expand its dependence on Russia, forcing the space agency to buy additional seats on the Soyuz rocket to transport more astronauts into space .
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