NASA to Provide Coverage of SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight with Astronauts5 min read

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission will return U.S human spaceflight to the International Space Station from U.S. soil with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley on an American rocket and spacecraft for the first time since 2011. In March 2020, at a SpaceX processing facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX successfully completed a fully integrated test of critical crew flight hardware ahead of Crew Dragon’s second demonstration mission to the International Space Station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program; the first flight test with astronauts onboard the spacecraft. Behnken and Hurley participated in the test, which included flight suit leak checks, spacecraft sound verification, display panel and cargo bin inspections, seat hardware rotations, and more
Credits: NASA

These activities are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 4:32 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 27, for the launch of the Demo-2 flight, which will be the first time a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft will carry humans to the space station. The launch, as well as other activities leading up to the launch, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at 11:29 a.m. Thursday, May 28.

This will be SpaceX’s final test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX currently is readying the hardware for the first rotational mission, which would happen after data from this mission is reviewed for NASA’s certification.

All media participation in these news conferences will be remote except where specifically listed below; only a limited number of media will be accommodated at Kennedy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Media who will be accommodated in person for specific events will be notified in writing in the coming days. Please note that the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed to all media throughout these events for the protection of Kennedy employees and journalists.

To participate in the briefings by phone, reporters must e-mail ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov no later than two hours prior to each event.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 coverage is as follows. All times are EDT and will be updated online:

Wednesday, May 20

Time TBD – Crew arrival news conference at Kennedy, with the following participants (limited in-person media only):

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Bob Cabana, director, Kennedy Space Center
  • NASA astronaut Robert Behnken
  • NASA astronaut Doug Hurley

Wednesday, May 20

Approximately 6 p.m. or one hour after Flight Readiness Review completion – Post-Flight Readiness Review briefing at Kennedy, with the following representatives:

  • Doug Loverro, associate administrator, NASA Human Exploration and Operations
  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
  • Benji Reed, director of crew mission management, SpaceX
  • Norm Knight, deputy director, NASA Johnson Space Center Flight Operations

A media phone bridge will be available for this event.

Friday, May 22

Time TBD – Virtual Demo-2 Crew engagement at Kennedy, with the following participants

  • NASA astronaut Robert Behnken
  • NASA astronaut Doug Hurley

A media phone bridge will be available for this event.

Monday, May 25

Time TBD or one hour after Launch Readiness Review completion – Prelaunch briefing at Kennedy, with the following representatives:

  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
  • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
  • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Norm Knight, deputy director, NASA Johnson Space Center Flight Operations
  • Mike McAleenan, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron

A media phone bridge will be available for this event.

Tuesday, May. 26

10 a.m. – Administrator Countdown Clock Briefing (limited in-person media only)

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Bob Cabana, director, Kennedy Space Center
  • Astronaut representative

Wednesday, May. 27

12:15 p.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 4:32 p.m. liftoff

6 p.m. – Administrator postlaunch news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:

  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
  • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
  • SpaceX representative
  • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
  • Astronaut Office representative

A media phone bridge will be available for this event.

Thursday, May. 28

11:29 a.m. – Docking (NASA Television will have continuous coverage from launch to docking)

The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by emailing ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.

The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including helping us prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

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