Updates to Coverage of Landmark NASA SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight


NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Demo-2 will serve as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is now scheduled for 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30. Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Editor’s Note: This advisory was updated on May 28 with times for the astronaut downlinks on Saturday, May 30, and Sunday, May 31.

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

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, for the launch of the first commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft carrying astronauts to the space station. The first launch attempt, on May 27, was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

Full mission coverage begins at 11 a.m., and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as numerous other platforms. The launch broadcast commentators are: Marie Lewis, Dan Huot, Gary Jordan, Derrol Nail, and Tahira Allen from NASA; and Lauren Lyons, John Insprucker, and Jessie Anderson from SpaceX; with special guest host and former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Postlaunch coverage commentators are Leah Cheshier, Courtney Beasley, Gary Jordan and Dan Huot from NASA; and Kate Tice, Siva Bharadvaj, and Michael Andrews from SpaceX.

Prelaunch coverage also includes a special performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Grammy Award-winning singer Kelly Clarkson.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is scheduled to dock to the space station at 10:29 a.m. Sunday, May 31.

This will be SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide critical 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 certification of 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 space station crew rotational mission, which would happen after data from this test flight is reviewed for certification.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, media participation in news conferences will be remote, with only a limited number of media, who already have been accredited, will be accommodated at Kennedy. For the protection of media and Kennedy employees, the Kennedy Press Site News Center facilities will remain closed to all media throughout these events.

To participate in the Kennedy briefing by phone, reporters must e-mail ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov no later than one hour prior to each event.

To participate by phone in the post-arrival news conference held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, reporters must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than one hour prior to the event.

Live NASA coverage is as follows. All times are EDT:

Saturday, May 30

  • 11 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins (continues through docking)
    • 3:22 p.m. – Liftoff
    • 4:09 p.m. – Crew Dragon phase burn 
    • 4:55 p.m. – Far-field manual flight test 
    • 5:55 p.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
  • 6:30 p.m. – Postlaunch news conference at Kennedy
    • Administrator Bridenstine
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • SpaceX representative
    • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
    • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Mission operational coverage will continue on NASA TV’s Media Channel.  

Sunday, May 31

  • 6:45 a.m. – Astronaut downlink event from Crew Dragon
  • 10:29 a.m. – Docking
  • 12:45 p.m. – Hatch Open
  • 1:05 p.m. – Welcome ceremony
  • 3:15 p.m. – Post-arrival news conference at Johnson
    • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
    • Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer
    • NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester

A media phone bridge will be available for this event. Launch commentary will switch to NASA TV’s Media Channel.

Monday, June 1

  • 11:15 a.m. – Space Station crew news conference, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley
  • 12:55 p.m. – SpaceX employee event and Class of 2020 Mosaic presentation, with NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley

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.

This test flight is a pivotal point in 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 to the space station for the first time since 2011.

The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to provide 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 preparation for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

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


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Reply to  Jon P Peterson
May 30, 2020 12:00 pm

That link produces a garbage image on my Firefox. 🙁

providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions

I get nervous when Musk starts talking about “valuable data”, he describes a ship exploding on touchdown as “valuable data”. Neither does calling the mission a “demo” sound like a successful, historic mission.

I hope these guys are getting more than a NASA civil servant’s pay check for this, they should be on prize fighter money.

Armstrong and his team were all test pilots, these poor fellows look more like lab rats. God preserve them.

Reply to  Greg
May 30, 2020 12:40 pm

In orbit , on the way to ISS. Dragon performed perfectly. Kudos to Musk for making all this happen.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Greg
May 30, 2020 11:20 pm

Your Mileage May Vary, but I feel it is more Kudos to Musk for spending some much time micromanaging Tesla so that this could happen.

Remember, Musk made those Tesla trucks happen… and then broke the windows live on stage. The man’s a seagull.

Still, Kudos to all those who could dream, to all those who knew they could do, and to all those to actually did.

Reply to  Greg
May 30, 2020 1:29 pm

All data is valuable. Especially data about the weaknesses of your system.
It’s been said that you learn more from failure than from success.

NASA called the missions demonstrations, as in SpaceX is demonstrating the capabilities of their new system.

Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2020 9:03 pm


Excellent comment! Anyone who makes the same or similar mistake twice is an idiot!

I have never bragged on my success but have often discussed my failures. I strive to never make the same mistake twice. But if you don’t try you will achieve little.

Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2020 10:06 pm

Early on Musk and Space Ex thought they could do things more economically by cutting corners, and learned the hard way to start listening to us. Then actual engineers took over and things began improving.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 31, 2020 1:19 am

Yes, obviously this is above all an engineering achievement. Though most of the whooping going on is about the national pride of not having to rely on the supposed “enemy” to get scientists into space any more, the real achievement of this project is throwing a pencil into the stratosphere and getting it land on its end without falling over.

The technical achievement of landing a reusable rocket is second only to the original lunar landing.

Now that really is rocket science.

May 30, 2020 12:23 pm

And lift off…God Speed Dragon Capsule!

Martin C
Reply to  Earthling2
May 30, 2020 12:43 pm

That was AWESOME to watch that launch! GO USA !

May 30, 2020 12:42 pm

Fracking awesome!

Gordon A. Dressler
May 30, 2020 12:43 pm

Kudos to SpaceX for a smooth, nominal and very successful launch of the first manned F9 with Dragon capsule.

Terrific job!

Brooks Hurd
May 30, 2020 12:57 pm

Every space flight is a momentous achievement. This one should be the start of a new era of space exploration after an 8 year hiatus.

The goal now is Mars.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
May 30, 2020 2:16 pm

Need to look for mineable water in space.
First explore lunar poles and then explore Mars.
With moon it’s mostly about finding lunar water and then sending crew to Mars.
Mars has a lot land area to explore, and a key thing to look for is availability of Mars
Water for future human settlements on Mars.
With moon, lunar water has to be $500 per kg or less in order to make lunar rocket fuel.
And on Mars need larger amount of Mars water for use human needs for towns on Mars.
Water will used as water is used on Earth- which mostly for farming, cooling for electrical power generation, and residential use. And quite small amount is needed for rocket fuel.
On Mars you looking for millions of tons of water and per kg it must cost about $1 per kg {or less}
which far more expensive than water on Earth.
And example of water extraction of Mars could the drilling extraction of “fossil” Water from the Sahara desert, ie:
“The Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) is the world’s largest known fossil water aquifer system. It is located underground in the Eastern end of the Sahara Desert and spans the political boundaries of four countries in north-eastern Africa.” – wiki
“The Great Man-made River Project (GMMR) in Libya makes use of the system, extracting substantial amounts of water from this aquifer, removing an estimated 2.4 km3 of fresh water for consumption and agriculture per year. ”
So 2.4 cubic km is 2.4 billion tons of water per year. If can get as much {or even less} from underground on Mars and at low price per kg or ton, you have area where there could be towns on Mars.
Or other way to look at is, the real estate near such an area would more value than real estate which doesn’t have such access to water which is as cheap.
And over time and with more people coming to Mars {if there that much available water as above} means on get ever cheaper water on Mars.
And with moon, one uses or needs less water, but longer lunar water is mined, it likewise lowers in price.

Reply to  gbaikie
May 30, 2020 2:39 pm

SpaceX’s plans are reliant on having lots of water near their Mars base to generate fuel for the return trip, by turning CO2 and H20 into O2 and CH4. There’s believed to be subsurface ice in a number of areas, though I’m not sure whether any of the rovers have proven it yet by drilling down to find it.

Reply to  MarkG
May 30, 2020 4:37 pm

Almost anywhere on Mars has more mineable water than *probably* in lunar polar region.
Or one can mine the Mars water at cost of $1000 per kg, and still be 1/10th the cost of bringing water or rocket fuel from Earth.

Or the price of water on Mars or Moon has nothing to do with immediate exploration efforts, but rather has something to do with commercial use- and having Mars town is commercial use.
A town is literally a market place. And Mars could be a place with largest market in Space within few decades. Or immediately if Mars had already been explored.
Or exploration should be interested in finding mineable water, but doesn’t even need to try to mine it. Though scientific ways of determining where and if there is mineable water is similar to mining- or any kind of mining project starts with an explorational phase.
Or unless Musk wants to finance exploration of Mars {or the Moon} he is dependent on Mars being explored {obviously he can pay large role in NASA job of exploring Moon and Mars} before he can successfully have Mars towns on Mars.
Or without such exploration, his towns will likely become ghost towns, whenever areas Mars have been discovered to have better access to cheaper and more abundant Mars water.
Unless Musk wants to be famous for building towns which later become ghost towns {and he would adding risk to people who choose to live in, such soon to become ghost towns}.
Or Musk can also explore Mars, and if NASA fails to do it, maybe he will be forced be entirely independent of whatever failure that NASA evolves into.
But at moment it seems NASA could be exploring Mars, even before 2030.
NASA could mistakenly get too bogged down on the Moon. Afteral they do say go to the Moon and stay, but they also say, the plan is go to Moon and then go to Mars.
And I hope they land crew on Mars before 2030.
And I am quite against idea of NASA mining lunar water, as I am quite against NASA starting Mars towns. And I believe US law and the general view of US congress {which fund anything Federal government does}, agrees with this.
Or the choice to mine either lunar water or Mars water, will be made, based upon the scientific exploration of the Moon and Mars- and done by private investment.
As has been all mining and town starting ever done in US. Though other govt exploration which US federal govt has been for centuries, though useful Federal law can help or encourage starting Mars towns or Lunar mining.
As can non-useful laws, discourage it.
As example I think useful laws could help “settlements” on our continental shelves {coastal regions} and I think there are non useful laws preventing it.
One could imagine that could more important, but I think space exploration is more important- and something could happen sooner.

Martin A
Reply to  MarkG
May 31, 2020 12:54 am

Where do they hope to get the energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and methane? Solar panels perhaps?

Reply to  Martin A
May 31, 2020 5:02 pm

Sabatier reaction:
“The Sabatier reaction or Sabatier process was discovered by the French chemist Paul Sabatier and Jean-Baptiste Senderens in 1897. It involves the reaction of hydrogen with carbon dioxide at elevated temperatures (optimally 300–400 °C) and pressures in the presence of a nickel catalyst to produce methane and water.”
“The Sabatier process needs a source of free hydrogen to react with the carbon dioxide to produce methane. A partial source that can be used to obtain the needed hydrogen is through the electrolysis of the water by-product that results from the Sabatier reactor. Unfortunately, for every 44 kilograms of carbon dioxide that is converted into 16 kilograms of methane in the Sabatier process, you need four kilograms of hydrogen. The Sabatier process only produces 36 kilograms of water in the balanced reaction. This means an external source of additional “make-up” hydrogen is required for continuous reactor processing. Unfortunately, free hydrogen gas on Mars is essentially nonexistent.”
So I am saying {which Zubrin proposed, in the book, Case for Mars} is bringing just H2 as liquid Hydrogen {frozen H2 to get less boil off}.
That you don’t split water just to get the H2. But you want some O2 or LOX for the rocket but basically you bring H2, you are bringing a “energy source”.
You need addition energy, but need less energy from something like solar panels.
So with H2 and CO2 from Atmosphere, you make methane and water .
According to above 44 kg CO2 gives 16 kg methane which trading for 4 kg of H2 and get the 36 kilograms of water.
With 9 kg of water split you get 1 kg hydrogen and 8 kg of O2.
The rocket fuel mixtures LH2 and LOX is 1 kg H2 and 6 kg LOX
With methane the mixture is… 2.6 to 3.5.
Is complicated, but say it’s 3 though commonly 3.5 is mentioned.
1 LCH4 to 3 LOX
So 4 kg H2 to 44 kg CO2 and 16 kg methane and 38 kg H2O but needs 48 kg of O2
which requires splitting water 54 kg water to get 48 kg O2 and 6 kg H2.
If 2.6, 16 kg methane needs 41.6 kg O2 which only slight improvement.

This seems to result in shortage of oxygen, and if burn LH2 and LOX as rocket fuel you get excess of O2 if splitting water to make rocket fuel.
One can get O2 from CO with heat and Iron oxidize.
Let see Zubrin what said: “additional oxygen produced”…which splits CO2.
Been awhile since read that book. And now, I am finding even more I disagree with.
I think will say, I was wrong.

Reply to  Martin A
May 31, 2020 6:22 pm

I went on and on. But then I thought I should shorten it, and get to point of saying I was wrong.
But here I continue where snipped my rant:
He says is making Methane makes easier to store than LH2. I not going to worry about storing LH2- you have atmosphere and can use it to cool stuff.
And most what doing making rocket fuel is trying to make cheap LOX.
Is the CO2 atmosphere the cheapest way to make O2 and compared to from making O2 from H2O?
I given some thoughts I had to start a base on Mars. I would start by robotically mining the atmosphere, lots of it. And would have uses for CO2. And of course get other stuff from the atmosphere which includes water:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – 95.32% ; Nitrogen (N2) – 2.7% Argon (Ar) – 1.6%; Oxygen (O2) – 0.13%; Carbon Monoxide (CO) – 0.08%
Minor (ppm): Water (H2O) – 210; Nitrogen Oxide (NO) – 100; Neon (Ne) – 2.5; {less of others} and in terms of % water 210 ppm is .021%
A purpose of mining the atmosphere is getting the water out of atmosphere.
And not going throw away the: CO2- 95.32% ; Nitrogen (N2) – 2.7% Argon (Ar) – 1.6%; Oxygen (O2) – 0.13%; Carbon Monoxide (CO) – 0.08%
And on Earth we use water to mine our atmosphere, on Mars going to use CO2 to mine the atmosphere. So going to be about refrideration of cold atmosphere {which will warm when you compress it]. And a purpose was to have somewhere around 10 tons of water drawn from Atmosphere before crew show up. So it’s .021 % and O2 is 1.6 % though O2 is more dense than water vapor. Or less than 10 tons of water would make 10 tons of O2 and require 100 times CO2 or 1000 tons of CO2.
So compress 1000 tons of atmosphere into 1000 tons hot air which can be cooled to liquid CO2. And the could make +99% liquid CO2. And liquid CO2 like water on Earth can be used to cool things. And it make CO2 snow. You make LOX from using cool water, and make LOX from Liquid CO2 on Mars. Of course using power and making heat from the power, and would nice to use the waste heat for something.
Let’s get a reference, to indicate this is not just my crazy idea {well some it is}:
Introduction: The future human exploration of Mars will be sustainable only if water is extracted in situ. Preliminary studies have shown that, in most locations at the surface of Mars, there is insufficient water
in the atmosphere to make its extraction worthwhile. However, in some areas, the Martian atmosphere may locally far exceed water saturation commonly, allowing in-situ water extraction from the Martian atmosphere to become potentially viable. Areas that are commonly fog-filled, such as the floor of Valles Marineris, are among potential candidates.”… A more recent review at NASA SSERVI concluded that, considering the low water abundance in the (average) Martian atmosphere, extracting this water might not be

Yes, so I know it’s not cost effective way to get water- but it is way to get water and other stuff that could done robotically. And get a lot Liquid CO2, which is stored refrigeration.
Or a more valuable thing could be the waste heat and the liquid CO2- and get little bit water and oxygen and other stuff.
Anyways I had assumed you get oxygen with Sabatier reaction , which do, but not enough- unless include splitting the CO2. And if can get oxygen by splitting CO2, robotic mining atmosphere gives lots CO2 to split.
But you don’t have to have 10 tons of water waiting for crew to arrive, rather having some capacity of 10 tons of water per year, then when crew shows up makes more water and perhaps uses waste heat. Or having capability to make some water, having electrical power, crew builds up these systems as well builds up the entire base. And with robotic operation mining operation you should have lots of units rather one big robotic unit and if then 1/2 actually perform well and not needed repair, you doing pretty good.
And you pre-land operational vehicles before crew land on Mars. So don’t need to land crew really close to base, and then at later point build an actual landing pad nearer base.
A while on the topic, should have stay long time on Mars, and within this time add more crew, and when third crew arrive, then sent back first crew. And get the crew to Mars in less than 3 months, particular the first crew, as want you them in the best condition as possible, as their base isn’t going to be as prepared as compared to when the second crew arrives.
And you want to conduct this war, like the US conducted WWII, send lots of supplies- particularly after you get operational landing zone. But you should a way to crew off Mars and back to Earth before crew first land on Mars- an abort option. But if don’t have to abort, plan on staying on Mars surface for +4 years. And have abort option in Mars orbit, which can part of leaving mars surface emergency abort option. And this isn’t going to cheap. Costs aren’t really the issue in this regard, and might never be used- or plan on not having to have use it- it’s like the emergency escape system for crew who launching into orbit. Never used, yet.

Reply to  Brooks Hurd
May 30, 2020 10:22 pm

I’m not sure if I agree with gbaikie or not.
That being said lets not rush off to Mars just yet. We have a whole slew of untested machines and systems which might be better tested a mere 2 days from Earth as opposed to many months at best if on Mars.
Water extraction is and will be a prerequisite for any extended stay anywhere. Not an exigency really for human consumption but for fuel. Biological needs for water can be relatively maintained with closed systems. Fuel not so much.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
May 31, 2020 2:16 am

–I’m not sure if I agree with gbaikie or not.
That being said lets not rush off to Mars just yet. We have a whole slew of untested machines and systems which might be better tested a mere 2 days from Earth as opposed to many months at best if on Mars.–
That also, another good reason to explore the Moon, first.
Actually no reason that I know of not to explore the Moon, first

If lunar water can be commercially mined, then one will be getting lots of exploration of the moon- but NASA doesn’t need to stop in order to do a lot of lunar exploration. Nor do the other world’s space agencies need to explore the Moon a lot.
But I do assume NASA and other world space agencies will be doing more exploration of the Moon in the coming decades, but I think it’s likely the global private sector will probably be doing most of it.
And same applies to Mars- if it’s viable to have settlements there.

–Water extraction is and will be a prerequisite for any extended stay anywhere. Not an exigency really for human consumption but for fuel. Biological needs for water can be relatively maintained with closed systems. Fuel not so much.-
I think it’s plausible to import LH2 from Earth to the Moon, even at time of commercially mining lunar water and making rocket fuel- it is a cost/price issue. With spitting lunar water, you are mostly getting oxygen- which is the most massive component of rocket fuel.

And don’t need to make lunar rocket fuel for the coming 2024 NASA lunar manned program.
And likewise, in terms exploring Mars, one could also import LH2 from Earth and use it to make rocket fuel from the CO2 of atmosphere. In order, to make the rocket fuel from Mars to *perhaps* be a more cheaper way to leave the Mars surface.
But also shipping all stuff needed to Mars from Earth without even making rocket fuel from imported Hydrogen, is option for the Manned Mars exploration {and I think cheaper and faster way for NASA to explore Mars}.
Though also, you can’t stop Musk or others from making rocket fuel on Mars. Or making greenhouses or bringing boring machines to Mars. And etc.
The world’s going to be interested in NASA’s Mars manned program, and that includes the world’s hundreds of billionaires- who will want to make money- or get more fame and both.

Terry Bixler
May 30, 2020 1:12 pm

Outstanding. We have a viable space program again.

Reply to  Terry Bixler
May 30, 2020 1:30 pm

I was reading that Boeing is expected to do an unmanned launch of their system in a couple of months.

Reply to  MarkW
May 30, 2020 2:36 pm

Boeing already did an unmanned test flight, but it didn’t even manage to get to the space station and would probably have burned up if they hadn’t installed a last-minute software patch in orbit. That’s why NASA want a second flight before they put people on board.

It’s not long ago that people were still expecting Boeing to beat SpaceX to carry crew, but that flight put an end to that.

Reply to  MarkG
May 31, 2020 1:26 am

Now Boing just need to be able to do live software patches for passenger liners in software driven nose-dive. Maybe they could get the 737MAX to land on its tail instead of on its nose ?

Bruce Cobb
May 30, 2020 1:24 pm

Ralph Kramden was right. One of these days, Bang Zoom, we’re going to the moon! Again. After only about a half century.

Eustace Cranch
May 30, 2020 1:46 pm

Beautiful! This is what REAL spaceflight looks like. Stanley Kubrick nailed it in 1968!

comment image?dl=0

May 30, 2020 2:01 pm

Sorry Sorry Sorry, but this came to mind to me as apropos for today. I haven’t heard this since sometime in 1970:



Gordon A. Dressler
May 30, 2020 2:19 pm

Sorry . . . but Kubrick, in his 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey”:
a) Predicted events that were imagined to happen almost two decades ago,
b) Did not show a rocket launch from Earth’s surface,
c) Depicted a winged vehicle approaching an orbiting space station, with that vehicle having an airline-like passenger cabin with a flight attendant/stewardess,
d) Depicted a very large, Earth-orbiting space station that used centrifugal force to simulate gravity,
e) Depicted said space station to have a Hilton hotel (“Hilton Space Station 5”) and a “Howard Johnson’s Earthlight Room” accommodations for space tourists,
f) Depicted a rather small, single-stage rocket shuttle to carry people from the space station to the Moon’s surface.

He nailed it? I don’t think so.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 30, 2020 3:14 pm

Come on. Did I mention any of those things? Did my photo show them? Kubrick did absolutely nail the look of the flight deck & controls. That’s all I meant, and you know it.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Eustace Cranch
May 30, 2020 4:12 pm

At May 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm, Eustace Cranch posted: “This is what REAL spaceflight looks like.”

Real spaceflight is much, much more than “the look of the flight deck & controls.” You should know that . . . and that’s all I meant.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 30, 2020 5:25 pm

“c) Depicted a winged vehicle approaching an orbiting space station, with that vehicle having an airline-like passenger cabin with a flight attendant/stewardess”

Winged vehicle. Hmm, where have we seen that before. Oh, right, space shuttle. Those would never work in space.

Come one man. The wings are clearly for Earth atmosphere on the way to/from space. Isn’t that obvious?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
May 31, 2020 7:59 am

Jeff, you conveniently did not address the last half of my item (c) single sentence. The movie “2001” included Kubrick’s prediction that airline-style spacecraft travel from Earth’s surface to LEO would be common in 2001, even putting the Pan Am airline logo on the vehicle. Pan American airlines went out of business in December 1991.

But to your point, yes, we have seen how well the winged Space Shuttle worked in space, and in flying through the atmosphere on the way to/from space . . . well, maybe not so much from the point of astronaut-fatality rate per launch.

But perhaps the above isn’t obvious.

May 30, 2020 2:39 pm

The spacesuits look very odd. The boots look like the same ones I use in the basement when my floor drain backed up.

Reply to  Teewee
May 30, 2020 2:56 pm

Well, the Dragon II is going to splash-down, so …

J Mac
May 30, 2020 3:07 pm

The United States of America is once again launching astronauts into space, after apathetic support from prior administrations. Congratulations to the entire SpaceX Team, for design, assembly, and launch to orbit of crewed Dragon with nearly perfect execution! It gave me chills!

Hot Damn! We’re back!

Tom Abbott
May 30, 2020 3:08 pm

I think we have to give Elon Musk some praise. He has been relentless in his drive to develop his space vehicle program and has done an excellent job.

I remember long ago people proposing plans to turn the Space Shuttle’s solid rocket boosters into liquid-fueled, and reusable rockets (without having to take a bath in the Atlantic ocean). We had those kinds of dreams back then, but it took someone like Musk to turn it into a reality.

Too bad they lost the picture of the first stage booster landing back on their ship. That is as fascinating as the launch to me. 🙂

I heard one interesting coversation today (among others): The discussion was about the U.S. using the Russian Soyuz vehicle to ferry U.S. astronauts to the space station (btw, it’s “the space station*, not *space station*. One of my pet peeves).

Anyway, the Russians are charging $85 million per U.S. passenger on their Soyuz launch vehicle. So the discussion was what was going to happen to this Russia/U.S. launch deal in light of the success of the U.S. launch vehicle today.

Apparently, the Russians are planning on retiring the Soyuz sometime in the near future, and in the meantime, what is going to happen is the U.S. will still fly astronauts on the Soyuz, but going forward, the deal will be that the Russians get to have a seat on the new Falcon, and will trade that seat for the seat on Soyuz, so the U.S. will save that $85 million passenger fee.

And I guess, if the Russians retire the Soyuz, they might start using the Falcon instead. Although I have a hard time believing the Russians are going to allow themselves to be dependent on the U.S. for access to space, but I guess we’ll see.

Len Werner
May 30, 2020 6:40 pm

It is informative to follow just how public money is spent. For some history–

“With 135 missions, and the total cost of US$192 billion (in 2010 dollars), this gives approximately $1.5 billion per launch over the life of the Shuttle program.”


In 8 years since the end of the STS missions, and some 7 or 8 billion dollars of development cost, there is again a successful launch from US soil, and with considerably less cost per mission–

“Under this calculation, the first six Boeing Starliner missions will cost NASA about $345 million each while SpaceX Crew Dragon will cost NASA about $209 million each.”


However, with space-travel initiative now in private hands, government has not been idle–they have managed to do THIS in only 3 or 4 months!–

“An Indiana economics professor predicted on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic could cost the U.S. $7 trillion, and by June the domestic unemployment rate will be larger than at any point since the Great Depression.”


Tom Abbott
Reply to  Len Werner
May 31, 2020 5:36 am

““An Indiana economics professor predicted on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic could cost the U.S. $7 trillion”

A prediction and a few dollars will buy you a cup of coffee.

Of course, economists have to make predictions, that’s what they do. The rest of us should take such things with a grain of salt, and just wait until we see the actual numbers.

“Coulda, woulda, shoulda” is my comment on a lot of these predictions.

And btw, the Great Depression was an actual depression. The world economy was in the tank for fundamental reasons. The current world economy and especially the U.S. economy is completely different than it was in the Great Depression.

Three months ago the U.S. economy was probably the strongest it has ever been. That economy was put on hold, but it is still there waiting to be unleased. That was not the case during the Great Depression. So any comparions with the Great Depression are way off base. The numbers might be similar but the economies and the circimstances are very different. Not even close.

Randall Grubb
May 30, 2020 8:14 pm

I, too, am surprised by the spacesuits. They are far less bulky than what NASA last used. Perhaps technology has improved enough to allow less bulk, or the old ones were an overkill specification.

What did surprise me was the seemingly lack of foot restraint and arm rests in the pilot and copilot seats. Once in orbit and weightless, the astronauts seemed to have, well, indecision, on how to sit still.

Costs be as may, the Dragon’s crew compartment seems to be a Volkswagen compared to the Shuttle’s Cadillac. I hope it all works out well.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Randall Grubb
May 31, 2020 5:39 am

“the Dragon’s crew compartment seems to be a Volkswagen compared to the Shuttle’s Cadillac”

The Dragon is configured to handle seven astronauts at a time.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Tom Abbott
May 31, 2020 8:03 am

“The Dragon is configured to handle seven astronauts at a time.”

Yes, packed in like sardines.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 31, 2020 3:44 pm

I suppose we could say they are flying ‘economy’ now, as compared to a winged shuttle, that was reported to be the most complex piece of equipment ever to be built and wound up with a 40% failure rate. At least with the new Dragon Capsule tech, they are flying A to B, to LEO and fairly quickly with an abort mode that is nearly fail safe to orbit. And land a re-use the first stage. Much safer and cheaper.

Am amazed that a young kid born in South Africa to a Canadian mother, can immigrate to Canada at 17 with only a few dollars in his pockets, later move to USA and become a self made billionaire, and then become the first private company to send Man into orbit. It truly is the American Dream.

Bill Parsons
May 30, 2020 8:32 pm

Rocket launch? What rocket launch? I thought BLM rioting was the only thing happening today.

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