tomorrow IS a big day for US human spaceflight - after 9 years, we are finally launching people again from the US.

while most of my space twitter feed is filled with excitement, i’m full of apprehension. i won’t be cheering until they return safely.

a thread ...
i remember clearly the day Bush announced the cancellation of Space Shuttle Program. I knew back then that it will be a LONG time (if ever), the US would have back the capability to launch people.
this is because as a mere grad student, i understood enough about government funding that it is very easy to take funding away and infinitely harder to add funds & build something new.
our Space Shuttle was a beautiful yet intricate piece of machinery. despite its flaws, we made it work because of the giant force of people that made it happen. the operations behind this Program is largely unknown to the rest of the American public.
NASA trained astronauts for all aspects of launch, ascent, and re-entry of the Shuttle. they used all sorts of diverse simulators - from actual planes to six degree of freedom motion simulators. they intimately learned all about the subsystems of the spacecraft.
NASA exhaustively trained the ground controllers - TWO different teams! the KSC launch controllers and the JSC flight team. Training is integrated to push each personnel to work as one team while throwing every malfunction that could possibly happen.
NASA also had many astronauts + flight controller training simulations. as i’ve come to learn, the assigned controllers grew to learn & care for their Shuttle crew. every moment of each flight was reviewed & examined b/c when you are responsible for someone’s life, you do it all.
NASA had an entire back room of ground support engineers that knew every nut & bolt — LITERALLY — of each Shuttle. if ANYTHING on that spaceship did act as expected, a team of people were on it.
Unfortunately, I have not seen or heard anything about how SpaceX is tackling the operations of DM-2 (and presumably, subsequent flights). I really wish they would have made all of that more public/known.
SpaceX is filled with brilliant engineers, Dragon has undergone all the required testing, but i really would have liked to see, be reassured, that they got the operations right.

and they probably have. I’m confident NASA would not have given it a go if it were otherwise.
but still I wish more attention would have been given to that ...

as opposed to the Tesla cars with NASA logos, to the “modern” suits, to the “beauty” of a capsule during sunrise.
Two astronauts are putting their LIFE on the line tomorrow and i won’t be cheerful until they return safely back to Earth. Because that’s what it takes.

Ad Astra @AstroBehnken & @Astro_Doug 🚀🚀
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