NASA is still sending astronauts into space

Historic space flight - NASA astronauts fly back into space with rockets from Elon Musk

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Preserving national pride and no longer being dependent on Russia for manned flights to the ISS: That is what NASA wants with its latest mission. To do this, it relies on private providers such as Elon Musk's SpaceX.

On Wednesday evening, the Americans' eyes will be on their Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida. From there, astronauts should set off into space for the first time. A nine-year dry spell would come to an end, during which the United States was shackled to the ground or relied on flight opportunities from the Russians.

The Californian company SpaceX of tech billionaire Elon Musk is said to act as the savior of American national pride. Their “Falcon 9” rockets have been flying routinely into space for nine years.

On their tip they carry the "Dragon" capsules towards the space station. On board: water, food and new experiments.

Astronauts as a payload

It all works so well - what could be more natural than to fly astronauts into orbit with the "Dragon"? And so a further developed version is now getting ready to go, the “Crew Dragon”. It looks and works much like its unmanned counterpart.

Only if it doesn't work will the safety of astronauts be the top priority in the future. If something goes wrong at takeoff, the crew capsule will separate from the rocket in a flash.

If the take-off were aborted, special emergency engines on the Crew Dragon would burn for five seconds. You should carry the spaceship out of the danger area of ​​the launch platform.

Nasa relies on private provider SpaceX

Parachutes open after the fire has closed. And after about two minutes, the capsule watered - as intact as possible - off the coast of Florida. This is the emergency scenario. And that's exactly how the spaceship should return from space after its regular mission.

SpaceX and NASA are working together for America's manned return to space. NASA sends two experienced astronauts and test pilots from the US Air Force into the race. The space agency is also providing the launch platform at the Kennedy Space Center.

From "falcons" and "dragons"

In addition to the tried and tested “Falcon 9” transport rocket, SpaceX has further developed its unmanned “Dragon” freighter into a manned spaceship that should be reusable.

The unmanned test flight of the “Crew Dragon” last year was a success. Nevertheless, NASA wants to be convinced before it finally leaves its astronauts to a private provider.

The US is dependent on Russia

"After landing, we will evaluate the mission," says Jim Bridenstine, the head of the American space agency. Then NASA will decide whether it will start regular crew transport through "Dragon" capsules to the ISS in the fall.

Or maybe she will have to negotiate with the Russians about at least one more seat on board their “Soyuz” capsule in order to get to the space station.

As much as America hates its dependence on Russian missiles, NASA does not want to make the mistake of relying too soon on private space newcomers in their own country.

Soaring goals

Another capsule had missed its target in its unmanned test flight last year: the “Starliner” of the aerospace company Boeing had not even reached the ISS. So the Nasa boss does not want to finally slam the door to flying with the Russians.

Broadcast: Radio SRF 2 Kultur, science magazine, May 23, 2020, 12:40 p.m.

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  • Comment from Arthur Lienhard (lieni)
    .......... "Rescue system landed safely" write if.
    But show a picture of a launching rocket "In the lower right corner of the picture it says" LiftOFF ".

    Congratulations.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
    1. answer from SRF Culture (SRF)
      @Arthur Lienhard Thanks for the hint. The video has now been properly labeled.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from Ruedi Möckli (rm)
    It would be much easier to take care of the earth instead of having to colonize a new planet out of necessity.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
  • Comment from tom rosen (tom rosen)
    Ignorance, illiteracy, child labor, cancer, racism - everything should also be abolished. And until then, should we take a break from research and development? Or only with the one who “brings nothing”? And which is that you decide, the Pope, Greenpeace and Donald Trump? Sounds logical. Space travel, mobile communications, and individual transport are always the devil's stuff. And now I'm going to hunt a mammoth. Oh no - we have already exterminated them (without any technology). Unga, unga!
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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