SpaceX, the rocket company founded by Elon Musk, is about to launch its first human passengers.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will fly SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon vehicle to orbit on or after May 27.
Before the test mission, called Demo-2, Behnken told Business Insider the most impressive thing about SpaceX is its agility.
SpaceX made changes to Crew Dragon in one month, he said, that would have taken NASA years to do to a space shuttle.
Behnken noted such agility during the vehicle’s development makes him confident that SpaceX could rapidly fix problems during the Demo-2 mission.
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SpaceX’s hardware may impress, but something far more important matters to one of the first humans whom the company, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, is about to launch into orbit.
On May 27, SpaceX plans to launch a potentially historic crewed mission called Demo-2. The spaceflight will be the first of any people aboard Crew Dragon — SpaceX’s sleek new spaceship — and the first from US soil in almost a decade.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will serve as the crew, and they’re no strangers to spaceships or SpaceX. Both launched on multiple space shuttle missions before NASA retired the program in July 2011, have lent their seasoned experience to provide feedback about Crew Dragon and its systems, and have trained for Demo-2 since 2018.
“Every display and every procedure that is presented to crews in the future is going to have multiple items by both Doug and I,” Behnken said during a press briefing on May 1.
Behnken, 49 and a former chief of NASA’s astronaut office, said the goal wasn’t to “turn the spacecraft into Bob and Doug’s excellent machine,” but rather ensure it was as usable and safe as possible for both future NASA and civilian astronauts.
Business Insider asked the astronauts what impressed them the most about the new seven-person spaceship.
Hurley, 53, said he liked the operability and “clean lines” of Crew Dragon, but that the close collaboration between NASA and SpaceX was the highlight for him.
“On more than one occasion [Musk] has looked both Bob and I right in the eye and said, ‘Hey, if there’s anything you guys are not comfortable with or that you’re seeing, please tell me and we’ll fix it,'” Hurley said during the briefing.
Behnken said the changes SpaceX did make at their request revealed the company’s nimbleness to him.
“Doug and I flew on shuttle missions separated by a couple of years,” he said. “We couldn’t get the same level of change that we can got in a month from the SpaceX team during the couple of years … between our shuttle flights.”
‘I hope I don’t have to see it’
One thing Behnken and Hurley really focused on in the months leading up to launch — and as SpaceX was finalizing Crew Dragon’s design — were the touchscreen displays and manual overrides for the ship’s automated systems. The speed at …read more
Source:: Business Insider