back to article NASA makes May 27 its US independence day from Russian rockets: America's back in the astronaut business after nearly nine years

NASA has set a launch date for the first mission by US astronauts to the International Space Station, using a locally-made rocket taking off from an American launch site, since July 8, 2011. "NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifting off on a Falcon 9 rocket at 4:32 …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Space Xcellence

    Say what you will about Musky but he is delivering, if a little late but ahead of Boeing, who should be ashamed of themselves.

    Still no banana after having been awarded 1.6 times as much money and having massive previous experience.

    Good luck for everything going to plan!

  2. apalamarchuk
    Headmaster

    Not Fair!

    > It will be the company's first crewed mission since the firm's founding in 2002

    Stop discriminating against SpaceX! Why you did not mention all those company's crewed missions before the firm's founding in 2002?

    I hate the baitclick language "Best/worst/biggest/smallest/the most average since X!" In this case however it seems it works in the other direction.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Not Fair!

      sorry but , wtf are you talking about?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Not Fair!

        I can't tell if it's a bot, or a genuinely stupid human. Does that mean it passes the Turing test?

      2. FeepingCreature

        Re: Not Fair!

        "It's the company's first crewed launch since its founding" is a nonsensical sentence, since the qualifier "since its founding" does absolutely nothing. Obviously SpaceX did not do any launches before it was founded, crewed or otherwise.

        Hence "why don't you count the (obviously nonexistent) crewed launches before SpaceX was founded?"

  3. HildyJ Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Safe travels

    For any launch, I don't care what company or nation launches it or what nationality of people they are carrying, only that they have a safe journey.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Safe travels

      Absolutely. It's still pioneering and risky.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Safe travels

        Pioneer is derived from the latin pedo, or foot soldier. Ironic that Musk was able to smear Vernon Unsworth as a pedo and get away with it due to his defence of being filthy rich.

        1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Safe travels

          Except that the smear word used by Musk is derived from the Greek for "child", not the Latin for "foot".

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Safe travels

            Different words, darling, but you got my gist - even if you didn't want to, and even if the jury refused to.

  4. Dvon of Edzore
    WTF?

    Retro Progress

    25-May-1961 US President John F Kennedy challenges America to put a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before 1970.

    24-July-1969 Collins, Aldrin, and Armstrong return safely to Earth after two of them land on the Moon.

    Time to accomplish this feat: about 8 years and 2 months.

    8-Jul-2011 NASA retires its sole means of human access to low earth orbit.

    27-May-2020 NASA plans to return to low earth orbit.

    Time to accomplish this feat: about 8 years and 11 months.

    Truly the opposite of progress is Congress.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Retro Progress

      Apollo was also the worst thing to happen to NASA. The whole program was a crash money-no-object bodge job to meet an arbitrary deadline. Achieved by the mother of all deathmarch engineering efforts

      It was left the with a huge expensive sites and workforce but no technology or infrastructure or plan to go forward.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: Retro Progress

        I think you're wrong: the Shuttle was the worst. It killed more astronauts than the rest of the global space program, didn't really meet its mission goal of cheap., fast turnround between missions and seems to have left very little technical legacy apart from the RS-25 engines, with the last of those being thrown away on a one-time mission while people are still scratching their heads working out how to get production restarted.

        At times it seems that the US program has got lost while too many of various responsible management groups are only interested in lashings of pork than in hitting targets and making stuff work. Space-X is where it is and making progress because Musk is more interested in space than he is in getting richer than he already is.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Retro Progress

          "I think you're wrong: the Shuttle was the worst. It killed more astronauts than the rest of the global space program"

          Apples and oranges, man...

          They could have said the same about Apollo program, since all manned Gemini and Mercury flights were successes and Apollo 1 crew perished in their pod.

          Mercury was about putting an American on orbit before Russians. Russia won the race but was it a failure?

          Shuttle killed more astronauts purely because there were 135 manned launches vs 28 on Mercury/Gemini/Apollo. There were 2 total loss disasters, 14 killed vs 1 total loss and 3 killed in Apollo 1. Shuttle put total of 833 crewmembers in space, vs 59 for the earlier programs.

          Statistically the Shuttle was more safe than the earlier programs.

          While each flight brought more or less scientific knowledge, the earlier programs were just about that. And planting a US flag in Moon of course. Shuttle hauled some very important telescopes and lab stuff there. And the also fixed Hubble at one point. How feasible would that have been with the earlier space vehicle design? (I don't know)

          "Musk is more interested in space than he is in getting richer than he already is."

          How do you know? He's already got enough money to live the rest of his life in opulence. Does he still make money or does he reject extra wealth and direct it to foundations or funds that are pro-space?

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Retro Progress

            The Shuttle also had more people on board.

            1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

              Re: Retro Progress

              And failure modes that don't exist in any other spacecraft

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Retro Progress

                Arguably the shuttle was the legacy of Apollo.

                A single megaproject to do all USA commercial, scientific and military launches. With construction, launch and operation spread over different sites.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Retro Progress

                  The Shuttle's lessons were learned so well that it led to the F-35 program.

                  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
                    Childcatcher

                    Re: The Shuttle's lessons were learned so well that it led to the F-35 program

                    Oh... you mean to go massively over budget and timescales. Yep a great success then.

                    I don't always agree with Musk but here, he has put Boeing in their place. Is anything going right at Boeing these days?

                    All I can hope for is that this mission (and subsequent ones) is a success and that he really does not impliment an OTA system for these vehicles. The last thing anyone needs is for a dodgy update to stop the thing from returning to Earth.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: The Shuttle's lessons were learned so well that it led to the F-35 program

                      The Shuttle was a military craft which was promoted on the basis that it could do anything. So was the F-35.

                      The problem with this approach is that, for instance, you could produce a 7-seater pickup truck with a large bed and a crane attachment, and give it the capability of achieving 0-100kph in 3 seconds and a top speed of 150mph, but it would not be cheaper than having different vehicles for the different missions.

                      So yes, end up going massively over budget with big delays.

                    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

                      Re: The Shuttle's lessons were learned so well that it led to the F-35 program

                      Space programs live on OTA updates!

                      Seriously some of the post-deployment hacks that have been performed, either through necessity to save a mission or because improvements have been found, are legendary. Many of them have been covered here.

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: Retro Progress

            The mistake with Shuttle was not change plans when the real costs became clear. Shuttles should have only be used when an orbital workshop with larger crews and extended stays were necessary, like experiments including returning equipment back, repairing costly stuff, and building and maintaining orbital outposts. A waste to use it for satellite launches and shifting a couple of astronauts.

            You can't have a single cheap and versatile system. Now they got two systems with identical limited capabilities. Maybe it was better to have two with different ones.

          3. Brangdon

            Re: Musk is more interested in space...

            If you are rich and you want to get richer, two of the worst things you can invest in are making cars, and making rockets. Both very hard fields to succeed in, and even harder to make significant money.

            Musk's extra wealth is directed into SpaceX, which is a company that is pro-space. He wants to start a colony on Mars. That's a hugely expensive endevour that will need every bit of it.

  5. Imhotep Silver badge

    Thanks To A South American Immigrant

    I'd be interested in the ratio of immigrants to emigrants. That's probably one of the best measures of how a country is doing.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

      Adjusted per capita, too.

      1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

        Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

        You don't need to adjust ratios per capita ;-)

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

      That would be South African

      1. Imhotep Silver badge

        Re: Thanks To A South American Immigrant

        Yes, it would. My apologies to Mr Musk. And to any South Americans I may have offended.

  6. rcxb Silver badge

    The Demo-2 launch also represents a major milestone for SpaceX: It will be the company's first crewed mission since the firm's founding in 2002.

    This is a much bigger deal that any of that. This is the first time any non nation-state has put people into orbit, ever.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Pint

      This is the first time any non nation-state has put people into orbit, ever.

      There's a lot I could say about Musk which would be extremely negative but, on this, it has to be said; well done.

      And, not just well done for getting it done; there have been some amazing innovations along the way.

      And, as a contrast to Boeing - perfect.

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme
      Joke

      "This is a much bigger deal that any of that. This is the first time any non nation-state has put people into orbit, ever."

      What about that Hugo Drax fellow? I seem to recall a documentary about that more than a few years back.

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Perils of outsourcing?

    See what happens when you outsource and lose local experience? In-sourcing again cost big bucks!

    I wounder how many more Soyuz seats they could have bought for the cost of trying to in-source a capability they used to have?

    (And yes, I am being tongue-in-cheek here. A bit.)

  8. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Now, if it just doesn't explode

    SpaceX's record isn't good on making mistakes that have been made before.

    1. Filippo

      Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

      I don't think they've made the same mistake twice so far. It's just that in this business there's all kinds of possible mistakes that all lead to explosions.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Imhotep Silver badge

          Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

          I seem to remember a response from one of the original astronauts on what he was thinking about while strapped in to the capsule awaiting blast off: That every part on the ship was supplied by the lowest bidder.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

            wasnt that Steve Buschemi's line in "Armageddon" ?

            1. CliveS

              Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

              There are variations of the quote attributed to John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Alan Shepherd,Gordon Cooper or Scott Carpenter. John Glenn was quoted as saying “My life depended on 150,000 pieces of equipment – each bought from the lowest bidder.” in a 1963 newspaper article, so I'm tempted to give him the credit.

              1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

                Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

                s/Shepherd/Shepard/, unless you really meant the motorcycle racer.

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

        "It's just that in this business there's all kinds of possible mistakes that all lead to explosions."

        Taking a cue from the naming of Musk's "The Boring Company", he should incorporate a wholly owned subsidiary of Space X to do the big tests, called the "The Kaboom Company"

        1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

          Re: "The Kaboom Company"

          But will it be "Earth-shattering"? Asking for a (Martian) friend.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now, if it just doesn't explode

      "27" gets a bad rap.

      January 27: forever remembered by space geeks* for Apollo 1.

      There's also the "27 club" of rock artists who died at that age, around the same time (give/take a few years).

      Hopefully May 27 isn't remembered for the same/similar reasons. I pray for their safety.

      * Particular yours truly because on that date in 1980 I was born. AC because I wanted to share that factoid. This world has sure gone all nucking-futz since I turned 40!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USA is fooked

    Credit to Musk here, but USA can't even make face masks, soon they won't be making anything at all, they're totally f*ckd.

    Fed intervention runs at $215 billion a day but the USA economy is only $57 billion a day. Fed bailout started last September when it had to prop up the Repo market, then the US treasuries (because the Republicans did massive unfunded tax cuts and Mnuchin found he couldn't sell the debts they ran up). They were already fooked before Covid.

    Companies are sacking workers to bolster their claim to bailout money. Why make and sell goods and services when the man with the $ spreadsheet can just change the number of dollars in the spreadsheet!

    One Musk cannot save American from these fooking Republican idiots and their quid-pro-quos.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USA is fooked

        "The US has enormous armed forces and controls much of the world's oil supply."

        And how would you fund this war? Mnuchin already couldn't sell the existing debt, even before Covid struck.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: USA is fooked

        Lets do a quick calc, Fed intervention is $215 billion a day.

        $215 billion at the current price of $45 a barrel is 4.77 *BILLION* barrels of oil a day.

        Iraq, for example, pumps 4.5 *MILLION* barrels of oil a day.

        Billions vs Millions.

        So, you're out by a factor of a 1000. You'd need capture a 1000 Iraqs to save the US economy even ignoring the cost of the wars.

        The only two economies that can bail out the USA are the EU and China, the first and second biggest world economies. They're the USA's two primary suppliers, and they'd simply cut your supplies. USA can't even make face masks.

        Russia? Worlds 11th biggest economy? Trump bombing boss Putin? Pull the other one. I do expect Trump to shoot down a Russian plane for a bit of a show of independence, but Russian oil production is only 10 million barrels a day, 500x too small. Even without the Putin-Trump 'special relationship' issue.

        I'm reminded of Trump Atlantic city. $700 million in junk bonds, it needed to make $1 million a day profit offering free parking and $5 shrimp plates. Perhaps he could threaten someone with his scary lawyers? Michel Cohen?

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: USA is fooked

          $215 billion at the current price of $45 a barrel is 4.77 *BILLION* barrels of oil a day.

          I'm intrigued how that deleted post linked economics figures to Oil consumption of that magnitude.

          The USA are the highest oil consumers per head , eating just under a quarter of the world consumption , which is around 90 million barrels per day .

          Out by a mile , as u say.

  10. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

    In an age where Nazi scientists no longer are available, you need to tap new sources

    1. Ropewash

      obligatory xkcd

      https://xkcd.com/984/

  11. crayon

    Does anyone know whether the Russians will continue to be using their own hardware to send their cosmonauts up separately, or are they going to have to pay to ride on the Dragon thingy?

  12. herman Silver badge

    I think the original launches were thanks to a few German immigrants but the LEO shuttle killed more people than all other launches together.

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