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Tesla Model X, SpaceX, NASA And Apollo: Get Ready For This Week’s Iconic ‘Launch America’ Event

Here are the seven iconic moments to expect on May 27 as US astronauts lift-off from US soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle’s final mission almost a decade ago.

5/24/2020 1:43:00 AM

Are you ready for ' Launch America ?' NASA and SpaceX have come up with an iconic mix of futuristic and retro styling for the first launch of U.S. astronauts from US soil since the Space Shuttle ’s final mission in 2011

Here are the seven iconic moments to expect on May 27 as US astronauts lift-off from US soil for the first time since the Space Shuttle ’s final mission almost a decade ago.

Iconic image #4: A futuristic astronaut walkwayAfter stepping out of the Tesla Model X, the modernity theme continues with a sci-fi-style 85ft. crew access arm—complete with windows—that the astronauts will walk down as they leave Pad 39A's tower to enter their Crew Dragon capsule on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. 

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA astronauts aboard,... [+]on the company's second demonstration flight and first crewed flight to the International Space Station.SpaceXIconic image #5: The return of the NASA ‘Worm’ logo 

Now comes another iconic moment for the Falcon 9 rocket, which will wear a special NASA logo, probably for this mission only. Not used since 1992, NASA’s  iconic “worm” logo is being used to mark the return of human spaceflight from American soil on American rockets.

Iconic image #6: The Crew Dragon capsuleYes, it looks a little like the capsules used in the Apollo missions, but Crew Dragon is a big upgrade both on those and on the Cargo Dragon capsule that SpaceX has been using for cargo resupply missions to the ISS since 2012. The most obvious upgrades are the seats, the control panels, the space suits, the life-support system and the communications system.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken familiarize themselves with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, the... [+]spacecraft that will transport them to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.SpaceXHowever, the biggest visual difference to Cargo Dragon is that Crew Dragon doesn't have the iconic fold-out deployable solar panels once it gets to space. “We've gone for a more robust design where the solar panels are permanently mounted on the trunk—it’s one less thing to worry about,” says Reisman.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in an image taken by ESA astronaut Tim Peake from the International... [+]Space Station on April 10, 2016. (Photo by Tim Peake / ESA/NASA via Getty Images)2016 ESA/NASA“One of the things SpaceX does really well from an engineering perspective is to keep things simple.” Complexity is expensive to manufacture, so not sustainable, but those solar arrays were always a worry on Cargo Dragon, according to Reisman (though they worked every time).  

Falcon 9's first stage booster will land on a SpaceX barge in the Atlantic Ocean.SpaceXIconic image #7: The return of a reusable rocketHow about seeing the return of the first reusable rocket in a crewed spaceflight? That’s a proper landmark moment, and it will take place a few minutes after liftoff as the Falcon 9's first stage booster separates from the upper stage and returns to Earth. It will land—hopefully—on a SpaceX barge in the Atlantic Ocean. 

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What if it all goes wrong?Hopefully we won’t see this on May 27, but it’s good to know that Crew Dragon is fitted with a Super Draco launch escape system. It’s actually the biggest difference between Cargo Dragon and Crew Dragon. Comprised of eight large Super Draco engines, it can take the capsule to safety if there's a problem with the Falcon 9 rocket, whether that's on the launch pad or at anytime through to the second-stage separation.

It was tested on January 19, 2020. “It’s not something we had on the Space Shuttle,” says Reisman.Even after a perfect launch in the largely autonomous Crew Dragon vehicle, the astronauts will have challenges. The flight-plan includes a manual flying demo, but it’s what the flight plan doesn’t include that’s going to be most critical of all. “Despite a very rigorous testing and certification process they’re still on the first flight of a new vehicle with complex systems, and there's always the potential that something unexpected may happen,” says Reisman. “For Bob and Doug it’s about taking care of anything that happens that's unplanned. That’s always the case for human spaceflight.”

If all goes well, Crew Dragon should arrive at the ISS around 19 hours after its launch—so that’s around 11:30 a.m. EDT/15:30 p.m. GMT on May 28, 2020.  As well as being iconic, the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission has the potential to be a welcome boost to America. “People are hungry for bit of good news,” says Reisman. “This mission has been a long time in the making and it’s the culmination of a huge effort.”

If, for any reason, the mission is called-off on May 27, there’s a back-up launch window on May 30. Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes. Read more: Forbes »

they should build the tower to launch from and on the most southern part of the entire world. Nope, i wish they would cancel it.

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Bill Ackman pitched Elon Musk to move Tesla to Howard Hughes community - Business InsiderBusiness Insider is a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals. Launched in 2007, the site is now the largest business news site on the web. I wonder if these companies know they could get a lot more value out of other states?

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