Demo 2 – World’s first manned private space mission
About the mission Demo-2
- Demo-2 is a crewed mission to send NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).
- It was executed by SpaceX, an American private space company, in association with NASA.
- The Crew Dragon capsule with the astronauts was launched on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS on May 30, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
- The Crew Dragon capsule under this mission was named as “Endeavour.”
- The mission lasted two months after which the two astronauts departed from the International Space Station by boarding the Crew Dragon.
- It is a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an initiative that tasked private companies with creating commercial vehicles to ferry the agency’s astronauts to the ISS.
Why is it important?
- The mission is ‘historic’ because this is the first-ever time that a private spacecraft company — SpaceX — used its own rocket to put humans into space.
- This is the first time that astronauts have been launched from US soil since the STS-135 mission on July 8, 2011, following which all astronauts were flown to the International Space Station in Russia’s Soyuz Capsule.
What is the Crew Dragon?
- The Crew Dragon is the spacecraft that transports astronauts to the ISS.
- It is a sleek evolution of the Dragon spacecraft which was built to ferry cargo to the ISS.
- The Crew Dragon is designed to carry a maximum of seven passengers, but Nasa flights will carry four, with the rest of the space taken up by supplies.
- It is equipped with thrusters that enable it to manoeuvre in space and will dock – or attach – to the space station under autonomous control.
- Unlike previous spacecraft designed for humans, the crew cabin features touchscreen controls in place of physical buttons.
Why in News?
NASA astronauts splashed down safely in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour,” wrapping up the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission.
More in the News
- It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years.
- The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz.
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