Written by Aryan Pratap Singh , a grade 8 student
Since 2011, post the canning of the space shuttle program, NASA has had to rely on Russian made Soyuz capsules launching from Kazakhstan to take astronauts into space. But that is changing.NASA is exploring a way to make American commercial companies to become self-reliant in sending astronauts into space.
A little about the SpaceX Crew 3
SpaceX Crew-3 is the third crewed operational flight of a Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the fourth overall crewed orbital flight mission. This mission is currently planned to launch in October 2021.
NASA has recently announced the astronauts that will be a part of the Crew-3 mission. The astronauts’ list includes Raja Chari (mission commander), Thomas Mashburn (mission pilot), and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer (mission specialist) as well as a fourth crew member (to be announced later).
This will be Raja Chari’s first spaceflight. He is the fourth person of Indian origin to go to space and was a colonel in the US air force. He became a NASA astronaut in 2017 and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot, having accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career. He has been selected as a member of the Artemis Team and is eligible for assignment to a future lunar mission.
Thomas Marshburn became an astronaut in 2004. Prior to serving in the astronaut corps, (which sounds fake) he served as a flight surgeon at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Crew-3 will be his 3rd expedition to space.
Matthias Maurer, like Chari, will be going on his first trip to space with the Crew-3 mission. Before becoming an astronaut, Maurer held a number of engineering and research roles. In 2016, he spent 16 days as part of Neemo, NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO).
Crew-3 is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida sometime in the fall of 2021.
But, what is SpaceX?
SpaceX is an American company that provides commercial and government launch services on its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. It is owned by Elon Musk. Earlier in the year SpaceX successfully completed Demo-2, a mission to show that the Crew dragon vehicle could safely ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. After its success, the Crew-1 mission was launched. This was the company’s first crewed mission to space. SpaceX is now preparing for Crew-2, which is set to launch in spring 2021. SpaceX has been looking forward to the future, with the astronauts for the Crew-3 mission being announced by NASA and ESA on December 14th. The goal of this mission to provide safe and reliable crew access to the space station and low-Earth orbit in partnership with the American aerospace industry. Ultimately, they are hoping that if commercial companies can focus on providing human transportation services, to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA will be free to focus on building spacecraft and rockets for deep space missions to the Moon and Mars.
All we have to hope for is that they do not take Covind-19 into space.
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