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What is the SpaceX Demo-2 mission?

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

What is the SpaceX Demo-2 mission?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Objectives and significance of the mission.

Context: On May 27, NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight will lift off for International Space Station (ISS), becoming the first crewed flight to launch from American soil since the conclusion of the space shuttle era in 2011.

What is the mission?

The Demo-2 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and will fly two astronauts on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

This mission is essentially a flight test to certify if SpaceX’s crew transportation system can be used to ferry crew to and from the space station regularly.

This is the final flight test for the system and intends to validate its different components, including the spacecraft (Crew Dragon), the launch vehicle (Falcon 9), the launch pad (LC-39A) and the operations capabilities.

The Commercial Crew Program:

The main objective of this program is to make access to space easier in terms of its cost, so that cargo and crew can be easily transported to and from the ISS, enabling greater scientific research.

Boeing and SpaceX were selected by NASA in September 2014 to develop transportation systems meant to transfer crew from the US to the ISS.

Significance of the program and the need for private participation:

By encouraging private companies such as Boeing and SpaceX to provide crew transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA intends to focus on building spacecraft and rockets meant for deep space exploration missions.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. NASA’s Commercial crew program- participants.
  2. Space shuttle program.
  3. Demo 1 vs 2 missions.
  4. What is ISS?
  5. Space stations so far.

Sources: Indian Express.