A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil. The Demo-2 mission is the second test flight of Crew Dragon, and the first flight with crew onboard. It will carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station for an extended stay (the specific mission duration will be determined once on station based on the readiness of the next commercial crew launch). They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew. As the final flight test for SpaceX, this mission will validate the company’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities. This also will be the first time NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit. The Demo-2 mission will be the final major step before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station. Current Mission Status: After a successful ride to orbit - the Dragon Spacecraft successfully made its way to the International Space Station, performing a series of tests on the way. The docking was made at 15:27 UTC on 31st May 2020. After almost two months in orbit, Crew Dragon has returned to Earth. Capsule successfully landed in the Gulf of Mexico waters on 3rd August 2020 at 18:48 UTC.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX has many pads, on the East Coast of the US they own SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral and LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center for their lower inclination launches. They also own SLC-4E at Vandenberg, California for their high inclination launches. Another site is also being developed at Boca Chica, Texas.