NASA is broadcasting live radio chatter from the astronauts on Saturday's historic SpaceX launch. Here's how to listen.
SpaceX is set to send two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, into orbit. It will be Elon Musk's company's first crewed launch and the first time American astronauts have launched on a US spacecraft since 2011. You can listen to live audio from the astronauts on the Crew Dragon spaceship via NASA TV on YouTube — the stream is embedded below. You can also call into NASA's landlines for voice-only audio at 321-867-7135.
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SpaceX is preparing for its first crewed launch: Its Crew Dragon spaceship is scheduled to carry two NASA astronauts into orbit on Saturday, starting at 3:22 p.m. ET. NASA and SpaceX are broadcasting live audio from the mission, called Demo-2, on NASA TV's YouTube channel, which is embedded below. You'll be able to hear what the veteran astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley say aboard the SpaceX spacecraft as the rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA and SpaceX also have a YouTube livestream of the launch, with commentary from NASA mission directors and other employees. If you want to go old-school, you can also call in to one of NASAs three phone numbers — 321-867-1220, 321-867-1240, and 321-867-1260 — which are all playing the countdown and live commentary. The space agency also has a number that features no-commentary, voice-only audio from the astronauts: 321-867-7135. (Each line has limited capacity for callers, so if you can't connect, try NASA's YouTube feeds instead.) What the mission is all about
SpaceX is launching Behnken and Hurley to the International Space Station, where they are expected to stay for 110 days. This would be the US's first crewed spacecraft launch since the end of NASA's space shuttle program in 2011. Since then, NASA has been buying seats for its astronauts on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. A successful launch would also mark the first time humans have flown on a commercially made spaceship. The Crew Dragon spacecraft and this launch are the product of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, a partnership between the space agency and two private companies — SpaceX and Boeing — to build human-ready spaceships that can ferry astronauts to and from the space station.SEE ALSO: Meet Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, 2 'badass' astronauts, engineers, and dads poised to make history for SpaceX, NASA, and the world READ MORE: NASA's chief brought back a famous old 'worm' logo for SpaceX to use during its historic first launch of astronauts Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: SpaceX and NASA just blew up a Falcon 9 rocket on purpose, and it has something to do with Apollo 1
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SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship splashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, returning NASA astronauts Bob...SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship splashed into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, returning NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from a high-stakes mission to the space station. The demonstration mission resurrected US human spaceflight after a nine-year hiatus. The astronauts were the first people to fly in a commercial spaceship. Here are 27 incredible photos from their journey. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. SpaceX and NASA made history on Sunday when a toasted, gumdrop-shaped spaceship splashed into the Gulf of Mexico. The Crew Dragon capsule — designed by SpaceX with funding from NASA — was returning astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to Earth after an unprecedented mission to the International Space Station. It was the first time a private company had taken humans into space. But this was just a demonstration mission. Its success tees NASA up to ferry astronauts regularly to and from the space station aboard the Crew Dragon. "This day heralds a new age of space exploration," Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, said in a briefing after the splashdown, adding, "I'm not very religious, but I prayed for this one." Here are the best photos from the launch, the astronauts' time in space, and their fiery plunge back to Earth.SEE ALSO: NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, whose husband just flew on SpaceX's Crew Dragon, will pilot the spaceship in the spring DON'T MISS: Meet Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, 2 'badass' astronauts, engineers, and 'space dads' who flew SpaceX's Crew Dragon to orbit and back Behnken and Hurley were the first people ever to fly a commercial spacecraft. Their mission, called Demo-2, revived the US's ability to launch and fly its own astronauts, which it lost after the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011. For the last nine years, NASA relied on increasingly expensive Russian Soyuz rockets to ferry its astronauts to and from the space station On May 30, Behnken and Hurley climbed into the Crew Dragon and launched into space atop one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets. They had first attempted the launch three days earlier, but cloudy weather made it unsafe for the rocket to fly. On both launch days, the astronauts were helped into their spacesuits at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The men said goodbye to their families. Both are married to astronauts, and they each have a young son. NASA TV microphones picked up Behnken telling his son: "Be good for mom. Make her life easy." The astronauts couldn't hug their families because they had just spent two weeks in quarantine to ensure they didn't accidentally carry COVID-19 to the space station. Behnken and Hurley had been working with SpaceX for five years as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The program is NASA's solution to the void left by the space shuttles . It funded both SpaceX and Boeing to build human-grade commercial spaceships, but SpaceX got to its crewed flight first. In a press briefing ahead of the launch, Behnken told Business Insider that he and Hurley had gained more insight into the ways the mission could fail "than any crew has in recent history, just in terms of understanding the different scenarios that are at play." Inside Crew Dragon before they launched, NASA's livestream showed the astronauts closing their eyes and taking deep breaths as they waited for the final countdown. NASA had estimated a 1-in-276 chance that the mission would be fatal. Behnken said that they were "really comfortable" with those odds. The rocket lifted off at 3:22 p.m. ET, then the Crew Dragon capsule separated from the body of the Falcon 9. On Earth, teams from SpaceX and NASA celebrated the success. "I'm really quite overcome with emotion," Musk told reporters. "I've spent 18 years working toward this goal, so it's hard to believe that it's happened," Musk added. "This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilization on Mars, of life becoming multiplanetary, a base on the moon, and expanding beyond Earth." Once they were safely orbiting Earth, Behnken and Hurley named their Crew Dragon capsule "Endeavour" — a tribute to the last space shuttle ever built. The next day, Endeavour opened its nose cone and docked to the space station. After a hatch-opening procedure that took about two hours, Behnken and Hurley floated onto the ISS. Their new crewmates — NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner — were waiting to welcome them. Upon arrival, they displayed a trophy for SpaceX: a US flag that the last space shuttle crew left on the ISS. It waited nine years for NASA's next human launch from US soil. They effectively claimed victory for SpaceX in a game of capture the flag that Barack Obama started when he developed the Commercial Crew Program. The spaceship remained docked to the ISS for the next two months. It was designed to survive up to 110 days in the harsh environment of space. While on the ISS, Behnken and Hurley worked on science experiments that NASA conducts in microgravity. Behnken and Cassidy went on a couple of spacewalks together. They did routine maintenance outside the station: replacing batteries, installing new equipment, and removing old parts. Then came the high-stakes final leg of the Demo-2 mission: coming home. Behnken and Hurley crawled back into the Crew Dragon on Saturday, August 1, and undocked from the space station. After a night's rest for the astronauts (and several hours of maneuvering the spaceship), the Endeavour capsule fired its thrusters and pushed itself into Earth's atmosphere on Sunday. Musk had previously said the blistering, 3,500-degree-Fahrenheit plunge through Earth's atmosphere was his "biggest concern." That's because of the capsule's asymmetric design, which is necessary for the emergency-escape system that jettisons the capsule away if a launching rocket fails in midair. "If you rotate too much, then you could potentially catch the plasma in the super Draco escape thruster pods," Musk told Aviation Week's Irene Klotz in May, a few days before the launch. "We've looked at this six ways to Sunday, so it's not that I think this will fail. It's just that I worry a bit that it is asymmetric on the backshell." At the end of the astronauts' descent, parachutes slowed the fall. The capsule landed in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. SpaceX and NASA teams in speedboats rushed to recover the capsule and pull the astronauts out — but civilian onlookers in their own boats swarmed the scene, too. "Maybe next time we shouldn't announce our landing zone," the SpaceX engineer Kate Tice said during NASA's live feed of the landing. Even cosmonaut Ivan Vagner — the astronauts' former crewmate on the International Space Station — could see the boats speeding toward the capsule from 250 miles above Earth. Tweet Embed: //twitter.com/mims/statuses/1290014627087167496?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw .@AstroBehnken и @Astro_Doug, I congratulate you on your successful return to Earth! A few minutes after landing, the ISS flew over the #CrewDragon splashdown site in the Gulf of Mexico. pic.twitter.com/MZugsCt8tw In a statement to CBS, the Coast Guard said it warned boaters multiple times ahead of the splashdown with radio alerts and physical warnings, yet lacked an order to legally enforce a hazard zone. "Numerous boaters ignored the Coast Guard crews' requests and decided to encroach the area, putting themselves and those involved in the operation in potential danger," the statement said. Some of the boats passed close to the capsule, including one with a passenger waving a Trump flag. NASA officials said this was dangerous for the astronauts and the onlookers. That's because the Endeavour capsule can be shrouded in poisonous fumes after it plummets through Earth's atmosphere. The crowd "was not what we were anticipating," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a briefing after the splashdown. "That's not something that is good," he added. "We need to make sure that we're warning people not to get close to the spacecraft in the future." After clearing away the unauthorized boats, the recovery team lifted the toasted capsule out of the water. The team picked up a dangerous gas around the capsule called nitrogen tetroxide. They waited for it to clear before opening the spaceship's hatch. The recovery team then helped Behnken and Hurley out of their seats and onto stretchers — a standard procedure for astronauts post-landing — so they could get immediate medical evaluations. The men were fine but found it difficult to stand after the splashdown. That's normal for ISS astronauts, since their bodies become accustomed to floating in space and suddenly have to work much harder to move against Earth's gravity. A helicopter took Behnken and Hurley to dry land. "This has been a quite an odyssey the last five, six, seven, eight years," Hurley told team members and press shortly after the landing. "When the space shuttles retired, when Doug took his final flight to wrap that up, I think it was a sad day for us," Behnken said. "There's something special about having that capability to launch and bring your own astronauts home." Dave Mosher contributed reporting.
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley land off Florida after two-month voyage that was Nasa’s first crewed...Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley land off Florida after two-month voyage that was Nasa’s first crewed mission from home in nine yearsUS astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon, splashed down in the capsule in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month voyage that was Nasa’s first crewed mission from home soil in nine years.Behnken and Hurley left the station on Saturday and returned home to land in the waves off Florida’s Pensacola coast on schedule at 2.48pm ET following a 21-hour overnight journey aboard Crew Dragon “Endeavor.” Continue reading...
SpaceX's first crewed mission is headed back to Earth. Here's every step that must go perfectly for 2 NASA astronauts to come home safely.
NASA, SpaceX, and two veteran astronauts are about to finish the first-ever crewed commercial spaceflight mission....NASA, SpaceX, and two veteran astronauts are about to finish the first-ever crewed commercial spaceflight mission. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley climbed back aboard the Crew Dragon from the International Space Station on Saturday, and they are preparing to weather a fiery fall through Earth's atmosphere on Sunday afternoon. The spaceship's successful splashdown would mark the beginning of a new era in which commercial spacecraft regularly ferry humans to and from space. Here's how the return trip will work. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Two NASA astronauts are currently orbiting Earth in a SpaceX spaceship and about to embark on a fiery fall through the atmosphere, into the ocean. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first people to fly SpaceX's brand-new spaceship, the Crew Dragon, on May 30. It was the first crewed launch from American soil since July 2011 and the first-ever launch of a commercial spacecraft with humans inside. The ship docked to the International Space Station the next day, and Behnken and Hurley have since been conducting science experiments and spacewalks there. But now comes the hard part: bringing them back to Earth. Behnken and Hurley must hurtle back through the atmosphere — a voyage that will require the spacecraft to weather temperatures up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can watch the process live here. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said the fall to Earth is what worries him most about the Demo-2 mission. Here's how each step of the return trip must play out to bring the astronauts home safely.SEE ALSO: NASA just launched its Mars alien-hunting Perseverance rover into deep space with a drone tucked under its belly DON'T MISS: NASA just picked astronaut Megan McArthur, whose husband launched aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon, to pilot the spaceship in spring The Demo-2 return began on Saturday, when Behnken and Hurley climbed back into the Crew Dragon capsule, which they've named Endeavour. NASA and SpaceX had been watching the weather closely to make sure it would be safe for the capsule to splash down in at least two preselected sites. If winds get too strong or waves are too high, the spaceship has up to 60 hours in Earth's orbit before it must land. But as of 12:55 p.m. ET on Sunday, NASA reported calm weather and smooth seas. "It looks like glass. It's awesome," one mission controller said on NASA's live feed. If the Crew Dragon safely brings the men back to Earth, the culmination of the mission will officially kick off a new era of commercial spaceflight. NASA plans to use commercial providers like SpaceX to launch and bring home astronauts — not just on missions to the ISS, but soon to the moon and eventually to Mars. "This is the next era in human spaceflight, where NASA gets to be the customer," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during Sunday's live feed of the astronauts' return journey. Behnken and Hurley have been in space since May 30, when a Falcon 9 rocket carried them into Earth's orbit in the Crew Dragon spaceship. The spaceship docked to the space station on May 31, and the astronauts then crawled through its hatch to join their colleagues. The spaceship sat attached to the ISS for two months. Then on Saturday evening, Crew Dragon retracted the hooks that held it to the station's dock. Crew Dragon then gently fired its thrusters to propel itself away from the orbiting laboratory. Once it was far enough from the ISS, the capsule fired more aggressively to put itself on the right path to its splashdown location off the Florida coast. At 1:52 p.m. ET on Sunday, the spaceship will shed its tubelike trunk — a lower section outfitted with fuel tanks, solar panels, and other hardware, which the astronauts will no longer need. The trunk should fall into Earth's atmosphere and burn up. This will expose the capsule's heat shield. After another 40 minutes of maneuvering into position and pushing itself into Earth's atmosphere, the ship will begin to fall. The heat shield will deflect and absorb the energy of superheated plasma, enduring temperatures up to 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The shield should protect the hardware and astronauts as they plow through Earth's atmosphere at 25 times the speed of sound. Elon Musk has said this stage of the mission is the part he worries about most, partially because of the ship's asymmetric design. The shape was necessary for the emergency-escape system, which can jettison the capsule away if a launching rocket fails in midair. Though Musk said the asymmetry was unlikely to cause a problem, he said he worried that it could complicate the plunge back to Earth. "If you rotate too much, then you could potentially catch the plasma in the super Draco escape thruster pods," Musk told Aviation Week's Irene Klotz in May, a few days before the May launch. "We've looked at this six ways to Sunday, so it's not that I think this will fail. It's just that I worry a bit that it is asymmetric on the backshell." Minutes later, the capsule's parachutes must deploy to slow the ship as it falls through thicker parts of the atmosphere. The first chute should release at 18,000 feet as Crew Dragon rockets toward the ground at 350 mph. It should slow the capsule's fall to about 119 mph by the time it reaches 6,000 feet, when more parachutes will deploy. During a press briefing before the mission's launch, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president of mission assurance, was asked what kept him up at night in regard to the mission. He pointed to the parachutes, since their packing can't be tested until they're deployed. If all goes well, the capsule should splash down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:48 p.m. ET on Sunday. NASA is targeting a site off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Its backup splashdown site is nearby, off the coast of Panama City. Both sites are well out of Hurricane Isaias' way. At that point, the astronauts will be nearly done with a mission that NASA estimated had a 1 in 276 chance of killing them. They were well aware of those odds: "I think we're really comfortable with it," Behnken told Business Insider ahead of the launch. After splashdown, Behnken and Hurley will wait inside the capsule for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather and the state of the spacecraft, as recovery teams in boats approach. The recovery teams will retrieve the astronauts and give them a preliminary medical checkout. A helicopter will then carry Behnken and Hurley to shore. From there, they will take a plane to Houston. From undock to splashdown, the return journey should take 19 hours and 18 minutes. Behnken and Hurley are bringing a trophy back to Earth with them: the coveted prize in a nine-year game of capture the flag. The American flag flew on the first space shuttle and has stayed on the International Space Station since the shuttles stopped launching in 2011, waiting for the first commercial-spaceship crew to claim it. SpaceX and Boeing have both been developing astronaut-ready spaceships through a public-private partnership program that the Obama administration started. Musk's company got to a crewed mission first. That means Behnken and Hurley get to bring back the flag. Musk and NASA officials have been anxiously waiting for the moment the astronauts return to Earth: "I'm not going to celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said after the Crew Dragon reached orbit on May 30. Musk has said he feels responsible for the men's lives while they're in his company's spaceship. "I felt it most strongly when I saw their families just before coming here," Musk told reporters ahead of the mission's launch. He paused for a few seconds and appeared to choke up before continuing: "I said, 'We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back OK.'" If all goes well, NASA will use Crew Dragon to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS regularly — a capability that will free the US of its dependence on Russian Soyuz rockets. After Demo-2, NASA has contracted six round trips on Crew Dragon. The first one is scheduled to launch in late September.