Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Return to Earth


NASA has set a Monday news conference in Colorado to brief the public on how it will continue to continue making progress on the agency’s long-awaited human return to the International Space Station.

The six astronauts are preparing to launch Dec. 1 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the space station, the same launch time and date they will leave Earth. That launch date was announced in March.

NASA did not indicate the news conference would be broadcast from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., but it will allow reporters from a number of news organizations to ask questions.

NASA is about to complete a $1.6 billion, 10-year contract with SpaceX to supply commercial crews to and from the space station, two critical steps for NASA to come to an agreement for the long-term use of an American spacecraft for crew transit to and from the outpost starting in 2024.

For months, NASA has been working in earnest on a robust response plan to discuss the details of the space station crew rotation system, allowing astronauts to safely exit and enter the station. NASA wants to make sure it can handle a number of changes and, more importantly, make certain that Americans will be flying commercially on American-made spacecraft in the new decade.

For decades, the space station has been all Soyuz capsules — from Soviet and Chinese spacecraft. After this year’s launch, NASA hopes to have commercial crew capsules, Boeing and SpaceX, bring new comets and other objects to the orbiting laboratory.

SpaceX is planning to fly its Crew Dragon capsule to and from the space station in late December and early January. NASA’s Dragon capsule also will ferry astronauts on different trips to and from the space station.

The company’s capsules will use four Raptor engines. NASA has proposed ensuring equal size for commercial and Russian capsules. Its engineers plan to meet next month with a group of top managers from SpaceX and Boeing, the company building NASA’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, to make sure the two companies use the same engines.

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