What exactly is the Demo-2 joint mission ?
- This mission is the joint venture of Spacex which is owned by a billionaire Elon Musk and NASA.
- This mission transported 2 Astronauts, Robert Behnken and Doughlas Hurley to the International Space Station.
- The mission used the Spacecraft called crew dragon which was launched using a Falcon9 rocket from Launch complex 39A of Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on 30 May at 3:22 PM EDT.
- The mission was originally scheduled on May 27 but was postponed due to tropical storm Bertha.
- Lift-off was initiated by Hurley by saying the words “Lets light the candle” which were the same words used by Alan Shepard on the first American human flight in space in 1961
- The astronauts orbited Earth for 19 hours and then docked into the port Harmony .
- The mission is to become the members of the Expedition 63 crew and perform tests on Crew Dragon and conduct research
What is Falcon 9 and crew Dragon spacecraft ?
- Falcon 9 is a vehicle which relies on the two stage to orbit design by Spacex which is a type of space rocket which has 2 separate propulsion systems and they provide propulsion consecutively to achieve the velocity required to put the spacecraft into orbit.
- It is named after a Star Wars Spaceship Millenium Falcon. It can carry payloads between 5,500 Kg upto 22,800 Kg , depending on the orbit in which the satellite has to be inserted
- Crew dragon is a Spacecraft or space capsule which is human rated which means that it is certified that it can carry humans safely into space. It is also the capsule which is used by the astronauts to safely return to earth after successfully completing the mission
- It has the capacity to carry upto 7 Astronauts. It can dock itself into the International Space Station and can accelerate the capsule away from the rocket at a speed of 11.8 m/s2
Who is the crew of the mission?
- Dough Hurley (53) started to work as an astronaut in 2000 after serving as a fighter pilot in US Marines and has completed 2 spaceflights- STS-127 and STS-136. He holds a bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University in Louisiana and graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot school in Maryland.
- Bob Behnken served as a US Airforce test engineer before selection as an astronaut in 2000. He holds Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mechanical Engineering from Washington University and also holds a master’s and Doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from California institute of Technology.
The mission is to become the members of the Expedition 63 crew and perform tests on Crew Dragon and conduct research
Why is this mission important ?
- This gives the U.S. an opportunity to launch scientists into the International Space station from U.S soil as they have relied on Russia to send them into Space since 2011.
- This launch gives Private firms like Spacex to flourish and collaborate with the Government Space agencies like NASA. This gives opportunity for more interested people to learn and get into the profession of Space Exploration as these opportunities were previously limited to the government agencies like NASA.
What can we as a Nation take from this venture ?
- India has the largest youth population in the world and these youth are full of energy and knowledge.
- Lack of proper opportunities and limited seats lead them to go abroad in search of well-paid jobs. If this type of system is implemented in India, the talented Indian youth will stay in the country and the sense of Indian Nationalism can be used for the betterment of our country.
- Indian Engineers, Physicists and Mathematicians together can greatly speed up the Process to Stage India as a major player in Space science and exploration which is already well started by the Mangalyaan Mission and the Chandrayaan 2.