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SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 | launch 27 May 2020

SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch 27 May 2020

Crew Dragon Demo-2 is the first crewed mission of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the mission will launch on May 27th 2020 – 4:33 p.m. EDT.  Crew Dragon Demo-2 will launch from Kennedy Space Center, Launch Complex 39A in Florida, for an extended stay on the International Space Station (ISS). This will see U.S.A.’s only crewed orbital launch since the last space shuttle mission, STS-135, 8 Jul 2011 – 21 Jul 2011.

Who are the Crewe of Dragon Demo-2?

Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken Dragon Demo 2 27 05 2020

Image: Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken Dragon Demo-2  27/05/2020 – Source: NASA


Behnken has been assigned as the joint operations commander for the SpaceX mission – Dragon Demo-2, his main responsibilities are; rendezvous, docking, and undocking, to include mission protocols while docked to the ISS. Behnken has been involved in two space shuttle missions leading up to the SpaceX mission. He piloted STS-123, March 2008, and piloted STS-130, February 2010, these missions involved three spacewalks. Behnken has gained qualifications; bachelor degrees – physics and mechanical engineering, from Washington University. Also, a master’s and PHD in mechanical engineering, Californa Institute of Technology.


Hurley has been assigned as spacecraft commander for the SpaceX mission – Dragon Demo-2. His main responsibilities are; launch control, landing control, and recovery. Hurley has now successfully completed two spaceflight missions. Hurley was a pilot and robotics operator for STS-127, 15 Jul 2009 – 31 Jul 2009 and STS-135, 8 Jul 2011 – 21 Jul 2011 – being the last space shuttle mission. Hurley has gained qualifications; Bachelor of Science degree – Civil engineering, from Tulane University, Louisiana. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School – Maryland.

Dragon Demo-2 mission protocols

Dragon Demo 2 capsule 27 05 2020

Image: Dragon Demo 2 capsule – Source: SpaceX

The spacecraft Dragon-2 will be launching from Launch Pad 39A, atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. Dragon Demo-2 (Crew Dragon) will accelerate its crew to around an astronomical 17,000 mph, and be put on course for the ISS. One Dragon Demo 2 is in orbit, checks will be put in place to establish if all equipment is operating as it should, checks will include; environmental control system, control system, displays, maneuvering of thrusters, plus many more. Within an estimated 24 hours the Dragon Demo-2 will maneuver to dock with the ISS. The maneuver process is automated, however, the crew will monitor the process, if necessary they can override the automatic docking and dock manualy.

On completion of docking with the ISS, the Dragon Demo-2 crew will become part of the ISS Expedition 63 crew. From therein Behnken and Hurley will perform designated research with their fellows on the ISS, and perform checks/tests on Dragon-2.

Inernational Space Station Dragon Demo 2 27 05 2020

Image: Internation Space Station (ISS) – Source: NASA

It has yet to be decided when Demo Crew Dragon will return to Earth, but with a window of 110 days – Crew Dragon capability to stay in orbit, the Dragon Demo-2 crew have an abundance of time for research. The operational Crew Dragon will have the capability to stay in orbit for around 210 days, as per the requirement of NASA.

When the mission has been completed, the Dragon Demo-2 crew will undock from the ISS, and embark on a spaceflight back to Earth, via an ocean splashdown. In this particular mission the ocean splashdown will be just off the Florida Atlantic Coast. Rescue of Dragon Demo-2 crew will be by the SpaceX Go Navigator recovery vessel, the return will be to Cape Canaveral.

Florida at night from International Space Station

Image: Florida at night from the International Space Station – Source: NASA

The Dragon Demo-2 mission success is paramount, as this is the final process for NASA Commercial Crew Program confirmation of Dragon for long-duration missions to the ISS. The acceptance of Dragon to the Commercial Crew Program will see NASA continuing with the ISS research to benefit the inhabitants of Earth – to include the Artemis program, which will see the landing of the first woman and second man on the moon’s lunar surface in 2024.

Dragon Demo-2 mission delayed

Unfortunately, the mission was canceled due to adverse weather conditions. Re-launch May 30th, 3:22 p.m EDT.

NASA and SpaceX Proceed for Launch | NASA


Meet Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken astronauts of Dragon Demo-2 | NASA


Crew Dragon’s First Demonstration Mission | SpaceX

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