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Michael Sheetz+ Your Authors @thesheetztweetz Space Reporter @CNBC | pitches [email protected] | DM for cell, WhatsApp, Signal, ProtonMail | formerly @DJNF @ESTribune | alumnus @TheKingsCollege Apr. 03, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

NASA and SpaceX are moving forward with Demo-2, the company's first astronaut launch, despite coronavirus sweeping the U.S.

I spoke to NASA Administrator @JimBridenstine about why the mission matters and how the teams plan to pull it off by May:  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

“We need access to the International Space Station from the United States of America. Commercial Crew is the program that’s going to make that happen. It’s essential for our country to have that capability," Bridenstine said.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

Bridenstine said @NASA @Commercial_Crew and @SpaceX feel “pretty confident” Demo-2 will launch without a major delay, as “we’re working through the coronavirus pandemic" – though he admitted that the evolving crisis means it may be "delayed a little bit."  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

NASA's Commercial Crew workforce is practicing social distancing while preparing for the launch, using PPE when necessary and working in rotations.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

NASA is analyzing “two big things” before it signs off on Demo-2: The Mark 3 parachutes and the new SuperDraco system.

Bridenstine says there will be 2 more parachute tests using a C-130 and SuperDraco testing in White Sands is "all but complete."  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

NASA also received the initial data analysis from SpaceX's Falcon 9 early engine shutdown on Mar. 18, although Bridenstine doesn't think it "is going to be a showstopper" since Demo-2 will use new engines.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

Bridenstine says that Demo-2 will be a long-duration mission, with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley up at the ISS "for probably two to three months."
 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

The plan is to bring Behnken and Hurley back a month before Crew-1, when NASA and SpaceX will "investigate every part of" the Demo-2 Crew Dragon.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

Additionally, Bridenstine confirmed the Crew-1 roster is now full with NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover Jr., Shannon Walker and JAXA's Soichi Noguchi on the 6 month mission.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 

Bridenstine said NASA is regularly talking to @VP Mike Pence about Demo-2 and expects "the White House is going to make a determination of who comes [to the launch] in the coming days."  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/03/nasa-spacex-to-launch-astronauts-in-may-despite-coronavirus-pandemic.html 


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