Historic Launch Day for SpaceX, NASA: Demo-2 In Images
Demonstration Flight 2 Astronaut Douglas Hurley waves to SpaceFlight Insider correspondent Michael McCabe, enroute to Launch Complex 39A for an on-time launch at 3:22 pm EDT. Photo: Michael McCabe
For a day which began with a forecast offering 50% odds of violating launch weather rules, it seemed to proceed fairly well. Despite plenty of rain and foul weather over the past number of days, the Space Coast skies cleared up when they needed to and Falcon 9 took to the skies, right on time. Here are a series of photos from the journey to that, and following the moment.
Falcon 9 flies off the pad at LC 39A, carrying Crew Dragon and NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken aloft, toward the International Space Station. Photo: Michael McCabe
The path of 9 Merlin engines leaves a daytime streak of energy as the Falcon 9 shot skyward, taken as a single long exposure frame during the launch of the SpaceX / NASA Demo-2 mission, May 30, 2020. Photo: Mark Usciak
Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon in flight, May 30, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross
An afternoon weather system, one which would ultimately raise a tornado warning for Kennedy Space Center, blew in to the area at approximately 2:00 pm local, after the Demo-2 astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were already aboard Crew Dragon. May 27, 2020.
Falcon 9 flies off the pad at Launch Complex 39A, carrying Crew Dragon and NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken aloft, toward the International Space Station. Photo: Michael McCabe
With camera gear protected by bags and covers, viewers in Titusville take shelter as yet another rain shower passes, May 30, 2020. Photo: Mark Usciak
Following the successful launch of Crew Dragon and Demo-2, President Trump and Vice-President Pence (currently on stage) stopped by the historic Vehicle Assembly Building to speak with program leaders and the media. SpaceX’s Elon Musk, facing the crowd from the upper right corner of the audience, accepted praise for the effort and progress to date in returning American astronauts to low-earth orbit, launched on American rockets, from American soil. Photo: Michael McCabe / SpaceFlight Insider
Well in flight, the Falcon 9 carrying Crew Dragon climbs into the Saturday sky, May 30, 2020. Photo: Theresa Cross
SpaceFlight Insider correspondent and veteran space program journalist Mark Usciak, stationed at Tom Statham park in Titusville, Fl., poses with his imagery rigs ahead of launch. Image provided.
Spectators in Titusville take in the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, historic in that this mission sees two Demo 2 astronauts fly on a mission of undetermined length, to test and validate Crew Dragon. Photo: Mark Usciak
With the clock counting down toward the 3:22 EDT launch of the SpaceX / NASA Demo-2 mission, spectators found that it was a matter of waiting for the weather to improve. Flacon 9 launched successfully, on time. Photo: Mark Usciak
Crew Dragon rises atop Falcon 9 from the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A, with the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the left. Photo: Mark Usciak
Many competing weather systems battered the coast between launch attempts 1 and 2, bringing rain and winds in one system, then hot and humid sun in the next. Photo: Mark Usciak
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its Crew Dragon spacecraft lift Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley away from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Sean Costello is a technology professional who also researches, writes about and speaks publicly on the inspiring lessons within international space flight program. Prior to joining SpaceFlight Insider in early 2014, Costello was a freelance photographer and correspondent covering shuttle-era Kennedy Space Center launches for various radio and print news organizations.