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WATCH LIVE at 4:30 pm ET today: Demo-2 astronauts discuss historic test flight

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley returned to Earth Sunday (Aug. 2), wrapping up Demo-2, SpaceX's first-ever crewed mission. The duo will discuss their experiences during the epic test flight today (Aug. 2) at 4:30 p.m. EDT (2030 GMT). Watch it live in the window above.

Read our wrap story of Sunday's historic splashdown.

Full coverage: SpaceX's historic Demo-2 Crew Dragon astronaut test flight

From NASA:

"NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will discuss their recently completed SpaceX Demo-2 test flight mission to the International Space Station during a news conference at 4:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 4.

"The news conference from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will be broadcast live on NASA Television and on the agency’s website.

"This will be a virtual event with no media present, due to the safety restrictions related to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Reporters who wish to participate by telephone must call Johnson's newsroom at 281-483-5111 to RSVP no later than 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using the hashtag #AskNASA.

"SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, carrying Behnken and Hurley, splashed down at 2:48 p.m. Sunday under parachutes in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, and was successfully recovered by SpaceX. After returning to shore, the astronauts immediately flew back to Houston, where they were greeted by their families and invited guests – including NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk – at a welcome home ceremony.

"NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight launched May 30 from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Nearly 19 hours later, Crew Dragon docked to the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module May 31.

"Behnken and Hurley contributed more than 100 hours to scientific experiments and participated in numerous public engagement events during their 62 days aboard the station. Behnken conducted four spacewalks with Expedition 63 Commander and NASA colleague Chris Cassidy to upgrade two power channels on the station’s truss with new lithium-ion batteries. Overall, the astronaut duo spent 64 days in orbit, completed 1,024 orbits around Earth and traveled 27,147,284 miles.

"This was SpaceX’s final test flight and will provide data about the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking, splashdown, and recovery operations. The data will inform NASA’s certification of the SpaceX crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX is readying the hardware for the first rotational mission, which is scheduled to occur following NASA certification. NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, Jr., and Shannon Walker, as well as Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), are assigned to the first operational flight of Crew Dragon and spend six months aboard the station.

"NASA’s Commercial Crew Program works with the U.S. aerospace industry to develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew transportation systems that will carry astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil to the International Space Station, and back. A successful Commercial Crew Program 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."

SpaceX will launch its tenth batch of Starlink internet satellites Aug. 6 and you'll be able to watch it live here. 

A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch the Starlink mission at 1:33 a.m. EDT (0533 GMT), after a weather delay as well as an earlier delay to allow more checks with its Falcon 9 rockets. The mission is carrying 57 Starlink satellites and two BlackSky Global Earth-observing satellites under a rideshare agreement with Spaceflight Inc. 

The first-stage booster for this flight is making its fourth trip to space. It was used to launch SpaceX's uncrewed Demo-1 Crew Dragon mission in 2019, three Radarsat satellites for Canada and another Starlink mission earlier this year. The booster is expected to land on SpaceX's drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after liftoff.

Related: SpaceX's Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 57 Starlink internet satellites and two BlackSky Global Earth-imaging satellites stands atop its Pad 39A launch site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida on July 8, 2020. (Image credit: Amy Thompson/Space.com)

From SpaceX mission overview:

SpaceX is targeting Saturday, July 11 at 10:54 a.m. EDT, 14:54 UTC, for launch of its tenth Starlink mission, which will include 57 Starlink satellites and 2 satellites from BlackSky, a Spaceflight customer. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station, launch of the RADARSAT Constellation Mission, and the fourth and seventh Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. If you would like to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area, please visit starlink.com.

The BlackSky Global spacecraft will deploy sequentially beginning 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff, and the Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 32 minutes after liftoff. Starlink satellites will be deployed in a circular orbit, as was done on the first through fourth Starlink missions. Additionally, all Starlink satellites on this flight are equipped with a deployable visor to block sunlight from hitting the brightest spots of the spacecraft – a measure SpaceX has taken as part of our work with leading astronomical groups to mitigate satellite reflectivity.

From Arianespace:

Arianespace will orbit galaxy 30 / Mission Extension Vehicle-2 for INTELSAT and BSAT-4b for MAXAR and Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) as a final customer

For its fifth launch of 2020, Arianespace will orbit two telecommunications satellites (Galaxy 30 and BSAT-4b) and one life extension vehicle (Mission Extension Vehicle-2 or MEV-2) using an Ariane 5 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center.

With this 253rd Ariane mission, Arianespace once again serves the ambitions of leading satellite operators by contributing to the improvement of life on Earth.

Galaxy 30 / Mission Extension Vehicle-2

The Galaxy 30/MEV-2 is a Northrop Grumman Corporation (former Orbital ATK) program combining two satellites stacked together: Intelsat’s Galaxy 30 and Mission Extension Vehicle-2 for SpaceLogistics LLC, a satellite servicing vehicle which will dock first to Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02). 

Galaxy 30 (G-30) will be the first replacement satellite in Intelsat’s North American Galaxy fleet refresh. It will provide high-performance broadcast distribution capabilities, including Ultra-High Definition (HD) and over-the-top (OTT), while also supporting broadband, mobility and enterprise network solutions.

The launch of G-30 demonstrates Intelsat’s long-term commitment to its media customers and its media distribution neighborhoods, which have an unmatched penetration of cable headends in the United States.

Galaxy 30 will be the 62nd satellite to be launched by Arianespace for Intelsat.

Galaxy 30 will be the 29th NG satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

MEV-2 is supplied by Northrop Grumman for the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC. Intelsat 10-02 will be the first customer of the MEV-2. Once docked, it will control the orbit of the customer satellite using its own thrusters. After its mission for IS-10-02, MEV-2 will undock and be available for another customer’s vehicle.

The first MEV, MEV-1, was launched by Proton in October 2019. It docked with Intelsat-901 in February 2020.

After MEV-2, Northrop Grumman and SpaceLogistics are developing a new generation of satellite servicing vehicles that could attach propulsion jetpacks to multiple spacecraft in a single mission.

MEV-2 will be the 1st satellite servicing vehicle to be launched by Arianespace.

MEV-2 will be the 30th NG satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

BSAT-4b Satellite

The BSAT-4b satellite, designed and built for Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), a leading broadcasting satellite operator in Japan, will be used for Direct-to-Home (DTH) television service above the Japan archipelago. 

BSAT-4b satellite will serve as a backup system after BSAT-4a launched in September 2017. It will be the 10th launch for B-SAT. It will provide Direct-To-Home (DTH) television to ensure exceptional 4K/8K ultra-high definition (UHD) video distribution above the Japan archipelago, like its twin BSAT-4a. It is designed to provide service for 15 years or longer.

The Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) is a Japanese company created in April 1993 to manage satellite procurement, control and management of broadcast satellites, supply for basic broadcasting stations and to all operations and all businesses relating.

Arianespace has launched all B-SAT satellites since the creation of this Japanese operator, reflecting the launch services company’s exceptionally strong position in this market. This mission also underlines the exceptional quality of the partnership between Arianespace, Maxar and the Japanese operator B-SAT.

The Arianespace GTO market share in Japan is 74% since Japan’s first commercial satellite launch JCSAT-1 in 1989. In addition, Arianespace has launched a total of 2 auxiliary payloads in cooperation with JAXA.

Maxar is a major supplier of innovative satellite systems that has already built and integrated many of the most powerful and complete satellites in the world.

BSAT-4b will be the 66th Maxar satellite to be launched by Arianespace.

BSAT-4b will be the 68th satellite launched by Arianespace based on a Maxar (SSL) platform.

It will be the 58th satellite launched by Arianespace based on the 1300 platform.

There are currently 3 Maxar satellites in Arianespace’s backlog.

'ISS Live!' Tune in to the space station

Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

From NASA:

"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.

"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below." 

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  • The Exoplanets Channel
    It will be exciting!
    Reply
  • rod
    The Exoplanets Channel said:
    It will be exciting!

    It could also be more issues for stargazing too :)
    Reply
  • Postman1
    rod said:
    It could also be more issues for stargazing too :)
    All the more reason to build telescopes on the far side of the Moon.
    Reply
  • whatdoctor
    I have been watching space launches since 1969 and I still find them exciting.
    Reply
  • Moondaya
    for sure

    Each progress about space was and will be exciting! I wish to see days when base set up on the moon.
    Reply
  • jimmiy
    Reply
  • Castacon79
    New here so I can get the world to see if they can do something
    Reply