SpaceX Historic Launch

Issue 21

06.01.20 - NASA, SpaceX and military personnel gathered in control rooms to support the launch, and they implemented additional safety measures, such as changing control rooms when a new shift begins so that the other room can be deep cleaned.

A few dozen journalists were permitted to cover the launch from the press area at Kennedy Space Center, but strict social distancing policies and guidelines around wearing masks were implemented. Bridenstine held most briefings by telephone, for instance, and in-person interviews were conducted one-by-one with news crews.

Jim Bridenstine, the space agency's top official, said he hoped it will inspire awe and uplift the general public during the ongoing health crisis. On the ground in Florida, local authorities were bracing for an influx of spectators who were expected to gather on nearby beaches, which were recently reopened after weeks of lockdown amid the battle against Covid-19.

SpaceX developed Crew Dragon under NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which, for the first time in the space agency's history, handed over much of the design, development and testing of new human-rated spacecraft to the private sector. NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing a fixed-price contracts to get the job done, and after Boeing suffered a major setback during an un-crewed test flight last year.

That decision wasn't without controversy, particularly in the Commercial Crew Program's early days. But Saturday's success could be seen as a huge win for folks at NASA who hope to rely more extensively on similar contracts to help accomplish the space agency's goals.

Source: Wall Street Journal