Today is a BIG day for @NASA (🤞weather permitting) - the first launch to the @Space_Station from US soil since the last Space Shuttle flight in 2011: the first crewed flight of the #SpaceXDragon

Here are some fun facts about #SpaceX launch that you might not see in the news…
If you’re in Europe you should be able to spot the Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket (two bright points of light) around 20 minutes after launch low down in the sky moving West to East (around 9:50 UK time).
On the last space shuttle mission, in true American fashion, the astronauts left a 🇺🇸 flag aboard the ISS that was not to be “captured” until astronauts returned on an American commercially developed craft.

It’s the same 🇺🇸 that flew aboard the first space shuttle mission STS-1
Now launches are commercialised we know how much a ride to the ISS costs! 💰 😳

NASA has been paying $85 million/seat on the Russian Soyuz craft.
SpaceX will charge $55 million/seat on the Dragon.
Boeing $90 million/seat on Starliner

Time to start saving...
By outsourcing the launch of astronauts to the ISS, NASA hopes to introduce competition to both reduce costs and increase the rate of technology advancement.

This also leaves NASA to focus on their plans for a Moon base & space station which will act as a stepping stone to Mars
After launch, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will spend 19 hours in orbit around the Earth playing catch up with the ISS before docking

It’s an ideal time to put both the manual- and auto-pilot systems to the test

📷 by #SpaceX
The astronauts will look less “pumpkin” and more fashion for this launch debuting SpaceX’s snazzy new spacesuits.

The helmet is 3D printed and each one is custom to each astronaut. They’ll only be used to protect against a possible decompression during launch and not for EVAs
The Falcon 9 rocket (named in honour of Star Wars’s Millennium Falcon) which will launch the Dragon craft is *re-usable* - the first of it’s kind.

It will return to Earth and land ITSELF vertically on a landing pad 🤯 EXTREME RECYCLING ♻️

All rockets are launched to the East so that they get a boost in energy from the Earth’s equator. This boost is larger the closer to the equator you are.

Florida is a good spot for this because if anything goes wrong, launching East means crash down over the Atlantic.
NASA has no concrete plans for how long Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley’s mission on the @Space_Station will last: anywhere between 1-4 months.

They are going to the ISS with no return ticket booked!
You can follow @drbecky_.
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