The SpaceX Demo2 test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program was the first to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth onboard a commercially built and operated spacecraft.
The crew launched on Saturday, May 30 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and arrived at the orbiting laboratory on May 31. The SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” splashed down off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, Aug. 2 at 2:48 pm EDT following their undocking from the International Space Station Saturday, Aug. 1 at 7:35 pm EDT.
During their 62 days aboard station, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley contributed more than 100 hours of time to supporting the orbiting laboratory’s investigations, participated in public engagement events, and supported four spacewalks with Behnken and Cassidy to install new batteries in the station’s power grid and upgrade other station hardware.
These activities are a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which has been working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. This is SpaceX’s final test flight and is providing data about the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as inorbit, docking, splashdown and recovery operations.
The test flight also will help NASA certify SpaceX’s crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX is readying the hardware for the first rotational mission that will occur following NASA certification, which is expected to take about six weeks.
The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and costeffective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration, including helping us prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.