Second mission flight of the Crew Dragon

Second mission flight of the Crew Dragon

Today, SpaceX launched Crew Dragon into orbit for the second time. In this article we will talk in detail about this unique spacecraft and give you tips on how to see it with the naked eye. You don't have too much time before the spacecraft docks with the ISS and is no longer visible in the sky. We recommend you download Satellite Tracker and check if you have a chance to see it.

You can also take our quiz about the most famous spaceship in history.

Over the last half century, scientists have sent numerous probes and satellites into space. Many of these – such as Sputnik 1, Apollo 11 and Hubble – have also achieved notoriety in the general population because of their groundbreaking achievements. In this quiz you have to guess famous spacecraft by their silhouettes and descriptions. Take the quiz and see how many of them you can guess correctly!

What is SpaceX Crew Dragon?

Crew Dragon is a class of reusable spacecraft designed by SpaceX specifically to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The spacecraft is launched into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket and returns to Earth via water landing. The Crew Dragon capsule offers space for up to seven astronauts. Currently, however, NASA uses only four people for its missions to the ISS.

What is special about the Crew Dragon?

The launch of the Crew Dragon marked the beginning of a new era in space travel. In May 2020, astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken successfully reached the ISS aboard Crew Dragon during the Demo 2 mission. This was the first time a private company succeeded in launching a spacecraft with crew into orbit. Demo-2 was also the first crewed ISS launch from U.S. territory since 2011 – 9 years earlier, American astronauts had to use Russian Soyuz rockets to get to the station.

The spaceship also has several technological innovations:

Unlike previous spacecraft that used buttons and knobs, the Crew Dragon has a more futuristic touchscreen interface.

The spacecraft has an upgraded launch recovery system consisting of eight powerful SuperDraco rocket engines. These thrusters can instantly remove the capsule from the Falcon 9 rocket in the event of a malfunction.

Crew Dragon can dock autonomously with the ISS (although astronauts can still use manual controls if needed). You can try to manually pilot the spacecraft to the space station using this simulator created by SpaceX. Spoiler: It is not that simple!

Who are the astronauts of the Crew 2 mission?

On 23. April at 09:49 GMT, the Crew 2 mission to the International Space Station launched. The crew consists of four astronauts: Commander Shane Kimbrough, Pilot Megan McArthur and two Mission Specialists – Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet. Kimbrough and McArthur are both NASA astronauts, while Hoshide and Pesquet are JAXA and. ESA astronauts are. Interesting side note: Megan McArthur will be the second person in her family to fly aboard Crew Dragon: she is married to Robert Behnken, who participated in the Demo 2 flight last year.

For a short time after the arrival of the Crew 2 mission, the ISS will have eleven astronauts on board. In late April or early May, Crew 1 astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Soichi Noguchi and Shannon Walker will leave the station and return to Earth via splashdown to complete their five-and-a-half-month stay in orbit.

The Crew 2 astronauts will stay aboard the space station for about six months. They will conduct scientific research in areas such as medical technology, human health and materials to promote life on Earth. Some of the experiments aim to address the challenges of long-term spaceflight and prepare future astronauts for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Can I see Crew Dragon in the sky?

The Crew Dragon will fly by on 24. April, 09:10 GMT Docking with the ISS. This means that you have time to see if the weather conditions are favorable. If you're lucky, you may even see Crew Dragon and the ISS close together!

The spacecraft should be visible to the naked eye as a bright dot in the night sky. Use the Star Walk 2 app to know exactly where to look. Tap the magnifying glass icon, type "Crew 2" in the search box, tap the search result and the app will show you where the spacecraft is right now. After that, point your phone at the sky and look for the Crew Dragon.

Another app you can use to track the Crew Dragon is Satellite Tracker. This app lets you know in advance if Crew Dragon is visible near you. Satellite Tracker can also send you a notification when the spacecraft passes over your location. Open the app, tap the satellite icon in the upper right corner, type "Crew 2" in the search box, and tap "Track" next to the appropriate search result. After that, tap on the name of the spacecraft. On the main screen, tap the white arrow under the "Next flyby" timer. The list of visible flybys is displayed. Tap on one of the alarm icons to set a notification for the flyby. After you receive the notification, tap the round icon on the far right of the lower part of the screen to access the "Sky View" mode. This will allow you to point your phone at the sky and view the exact location of the Crew Dragon.