The New Space Race | Spectrum News

American spaceflight is entering a new era, with two astronauts — Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken — scheduled to lift off from the U.S. to the space station for the first time in almost a decade. The launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon will also usher in the next phase of the space race: private companies ferrying NASA astronauts. Spectrum News has everything you need to know about the historic flight, from the development of the Crew Dragon to a nationwide LIVE broadcast of the launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Interactive Timeline | More Space and NASA News | Space Coast Launch Schedule | Space Links | Space Shuttles: Where Are They Now?

The New Space Race

INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: SPACEX CREW DRAGON

MORE SPACE AND NASA NEwS

SPACE COAST LAUNCH SCHEDULE
  • Date: Friday, June 25, 2021
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: 36 customer payloads, including six microsatellites, 29 cubesats and one hosted payload to Sun Synchronous orbit. SpaceX says it's the first time it's flying two different orbital transportation vehicles. Also will have the industry’s first electric propulsion vehicle, Sherpa-LTE1.
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: 2:56 p.m.
 
 
(Man and child watching Delta IV rocket launch)

From Port Canaveral to the Indian River Lagoon to the beaches, there are many easy-to-access sites along the Space Coast to watch Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral rocket launches. Florida's Space Coast has a great list of more than a dozen rocket launch viewing sites, with descriptions and maps. Check it out here!

2021 AND BEYOND: Florida and nationwide

FLORIDA LAUNCHES

  • Date: Friday, July 30, 2021
  • Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V
  • Mission: Boeing’s Starliner-100 Orbital Flight Test-2, the second test mission for the uncrewed Starliner spacecraft. The test will aim to dock it with the ISS and return it to the desert of the western U.S. A success in this test will pave the way for the first crewed test of Starliner in late 2021.
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: 2:53 p.m. ET
  • Date: No earlier than July 2021
  • Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V
  • Mission: Space Test Program-3's Sat-6, a Laser Communications Relay Demonstration for the Defense Department
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: No earlier than October 16, 2021
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: Lucy mission
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: NET October 23, 2021
  • Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon 9
  • Mission: Crew-3 mission
  • Launch Site: Launch Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: December 2021
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: NASA GOES-T Weather Satellite
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: Late 2021
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: Boeing Starliner crew capsule flight test to ISS (with 2 crew members aboard)
  • Launch Site: Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: TBD
  • Vehicle: ULA Altas V
  • Mission: Boeing Starliner crew Starliner-1
  • Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
  • Launch Window: TBA

NATIONWIDE

  • Date: No earlier than Tuesday, June 15, 2021
  • Vehicle: FireFly Aerospace Alpha rocket
  • Mission: First flight of FireFly Aerospace's Alpha rocket (FireFly has plans to expand to Florida's Space Coast.)
  • Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, California, Launch Complex 2
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: No earlier than July 4, 2021
  • Vehicle: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo with VSS Unity
  • Mission: Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane VSS Unity will launch from the Virgin MotherShip Eve (VMS Eve). VSS Unity will reach speeds of Mach 3 after being released from VMS Eve, take flight to an altitude of 55.45 miles before a runway landing near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. This mission will be VSS Unity’s fourth powered spaceflight
  • Launch Site: Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2021
  • Vehicle: Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket
  • Mission: New Shepard-16's first crewed mission to space, carrying several passengers, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, brother Mark Bezos and a paying passenger.
  • Launch Site: Launch Site One, Van Horn, West Texas
  • Launch Window: TBA
  • Date: No earlier than August 1, 2021
  • Vehicle: SpaceX's Starship Super Heavy
  • Mission: First orbital test flight of the Starship Super Heavy (a Super Heavy rocket with a Starship on top)
  • Launch Site: Boca Chica, Texas
  • Launch Window: TBA

(Sources: SpaceX, NASA, United Launch Alliance, Space Launch Delta 45, Boeing, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Lockheed Martin, FireFly Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin)

SPACE LINKS
SPACE SHUTTLES: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Space shuttle Atlantis retired to Kennedy Space Center

ATLANTIS: Kennedy Space Center

  • Space shuttle Atlantis launched on its last mission at 11:29 a.m. July 8, 2011.
  • The shuttle program ended with the landing of Atlantis on Thursday, July 21 at 5:57 a.m.
  • Atlantis was NASA's fourth space shuttle orbiter to join the fleet.
Retired space shuttle Endeavour arrives at its new home in California

ENDEAVOUR: California Science Center, Los Angeles

  • Space shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission Monday, May 16, 2011.
  • After a journey of 6.5 million miles, the orbiter landed for the final time at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, June 1, 2011.
Retired space shuttle Discovery

DISCOVERY: Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

  • Discovery was NASA's reliable workhorse, spending more than a quarter century carrying crews, satellites and space station parts.
  • In 1990, Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.
  • Final flight: Feb. 24, 2011.
Prototype space shuttle Enterprise arrives in New York City for its retirement

ENTERPRISE: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, New York City

  • Enterprise was a prototype shuttle, rolling out of a California assembly facility on Sept. 17, 1976. After its success, Columbia became the 1st shuttle in space.
  • It was originally to be named Constitution, but a write-in campaign by fans of the TV show Star Trek got it renamed.

SOURCES: Information and images on this page are from NASA, United Launch Alliance and SpaceX.

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