Science & Technology

Astronauts arrive in Florida to set new NASA traditions for crewed spaceflight

Two NASA astronauts landed at NASA’s Kennedy Area Middle in Florida in the present day to undergo a set of pre-launch traditions that haven’t been adopted for almost 9 years — and create just a few new traditions as properly.

When Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken walked out of a NASA Gulfstream jet and met the press, they started a routine that’s due to climax subsequent week with the primary orbital launch from U.S. soil because the house shuttle fleet’s retirement in 2011.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is due to loft their industrial Crew Dragon capsule to the Worldwide Area Station per week from in the present day. However first, they’ll take part remotely in a flight readiness assessment on Thursday, after which undergo an in-person launch rehearsal at historic Launch Advanced 39A on Saturday.

They’ll additionally spend rest time with their households at Kennedy Area Middle’s Beach House, a retreat that’s been utilized by NASA astronauts because the Sixties.

Hurley — who’ll be the spacecraft commander on the Crew Dragon — acknowledged that the coronavirus outbreak has thrown “an enormous wrinkle” into preparations for the upcoming demonstration mission, often known as Demo-2 or DM-2.

The astronauts and their households have been going via stricter-than-usual quarantine procedures to decrease the danger of catching  COVID-19. Among the coaching classes had to be recast as digital relatively than in-person experiences.

Hurley marveled at how shortly and the way properly the NASA and SpaceX groups have adjusted to the modified circumstances. “There have been so many issues over the course of the final a number of years which have amazed me, however that definitely is excessive on the checklist,” he instructed the mask-wearing journalists who gathered on the runway for in the present day’s arrival ceremony.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and KSC director Bob Cabana wore masks once they greeted the astronauts and noticed social distancing pointers throughout the information briefing that adopted.

Bridenstine requested the astronauts about any new traditions they’re creating to mark a new period of American spaceflight — an period that’s not restricted to Russian Soyuz spacecraft for rides to orbit.

“We really feel considerably accountable to proceed a few of these actually neat traditions that each the Soyuz crews have had for a few years, and the shuttle crews have had,” Hurley stated, “after which possibly give you just a few of our personal.”

He stated he and Behnken drew upon their take a look at pilot experiences with “tagging,” and slapped a sticker for their DM-2 mission on their Crew Dragon spacecraft simulator in Houston on the finish of their last proficiency coaching session on Tuesday.

Behnken stated he tailored a pre-launch tradition that’s followed by spacefliers at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and planted a tree along with his household in Houston throughout a personal ceremony.

“My son will all the time have that lemon tree that he was part of planting,” Behnken stated. “Hopefully it makes it via Houston’s scorching summer season this yr and turns into a practice for another people as properly.”

The unique model of this report referred to an outdated video a few launch-pad tour given by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

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