On 30 May 2020, SpaceX will launch astronauts to the International Space Station. But what makes this space launch different from others?
NASA hasn’t been able to launch humans to space after the Space Shuttle retired in 2011. Since then, NASA has been sending their astronauts to space on the Russian Soyuz rocket, which has proven it’s capability to take humans to space safely over and over.
Over the years, since the first Apollo missions to the Moon, NASA has learnt so many things from what has gone wrong, and that’s why there are so many safety checks and procedures that are critical to the success of the mission. And now after years of tests and experimentation, SpaceX will be the first private company to launch humans to the ISS and they were also the first private company to dock with the ISS.
SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch Escape Demonstration on Jan 19, 2020
But most people don’t know about everything that goes on behind the scenes. There’s a lot of code or programming involved with a rocket launch to control it. Acceleration, navigation and other automated commands are all run by a code base controlling the rocket. According to information that I found online, SpaceX uses C and C++ to program and control their rockets.
But there’s a lot more to it. SpaceX took a whole different approach to launching rockets. The Falcon 9 rocket can land itself, it can throttle up and down, it can re-enter into Earth’s atmosphere without breaking up using a restartable ignition system and bring the near empty rocket booster to a zero velocity halt.
And you will be able to see all of this in action on the 30th of May 2020.