PostHeaderIcon Crew Dragon Splashdown: Sunday August 2, 11:15am Pacific

I will be hosting live commentary over Zoom during the Splashdown of Crew Dragon (the return to Earth of NASA’s #LaunchAmerica: the first launch of crew to orbit in a commercial spacecraft).

When: Sunday, August 2, 2020 11:15am Pacific Time

Where: Register in advance for this meeting (because it is public): https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkfuqvrz8tHtF1InWLMWB77rwAopWZc8cl

I will probably be livestreaming the splashdown via https://www.nasa.gov/live within the commentary. I will be commentating directly with you, and will attempt not to be talking over the NASA and SpaceX official commentators, but explaining some terms they use and answering your direct questions.

To watch the livestream of the launch on your own go to https://www.nasa.gov/live to get the best links from NASA.

Here’s my Twitter summary of why the launch was historic, and hence the return-to-Earth as well:

This is going to be a very big step. If I’m checking my history correctly, this will be the first crewed orbital flight of a truly-new design of spacecraft since the Space Shuttles first orbited in ~1981. I’m not dismissing SpaceShipTwo’s accomplishment of suborbital human spaceflight in 2018, but orbital is definitely different.

I am also not dismissing 神舟(Shenzhou) in 2003, though you have to admit that 神舟 is very, very, very similar to Сою́з(Soyuz). In trying to capture the significance of this upcoming crewed Dragon launch, the technology of 神舟 didn’t *feel* as new.

I guess I’m trying to say this *feels* very different and very new. As we’re living in a time of heightened anxiety with the pandemic, things that *feel* like risky new technology can *feel* even newer or riskier. Let us not mistake *feelings* for quantitative and scientifically-conducted risk assessment in any of our scientific endeavors right now, be they human spaceflight, quarantine advice, or the accelerated development of massive SARS-Cov-2 testing and vaccines.

See you in the morning!

-Alice

 

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