SpaceX Mission Carries Crew of Four to International Space Station
Camarillo, CA and Rockledge, FL (November 24, 2020) – Saalex Solutions supported the first fully operational mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, helping to open a new chapter in the history of commercial space flight. The mission lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Sunday, November 15 carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). As with the Crew Dragon Demo 2 launch in May, Saalex’s Expendable Launch Vehicle Integrated Support 3 (ELVIS 3) team provided engineering, programmatic, and technical support for the mission.
The Crew Dragon’s capsule, Resilience, docked with the ISS on Monday, November 16 after a 27-hour trek to the space station. Saalex President and CEO, Travis Mack, congratulated the ELVIS 3 team for their continued success in support of the Launch Services Program (LSP) and Commercial Crew Program (CCP) mission.
“Once again, I want to thank our Saalex ELVIS 3 team,” Mr. Mack said. “They are leading the way in these difficult times by showing what we can achieve as a company. Commercial space flight will continue to play an intrinsic role in the future of the space program, and I’m proud that Saalex has been there at the beginning to help open the door to this new frontier.”
This launch marks the Crew Dragon’s first fully operational mission and the first time the spacecraft has carried a complete crew of four. The four astronauts include NASA’s Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi of Japan’s JAXA space agency, who joined NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russia’s Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov onboard the ISS. In May, the Crew Dragon became the first commercially built and operated U.S. spacecraft to take humans into orbit. That mission was considered a test and carried only two astronauts.
For the ELVIS 3 contract, Saalex has teamed with a.i. solutions to support LSP and CCP, delivering integrated launch preparation and execution services for the agency’s next-gen scientific and exploration space vehicles.
“The Mission Integration Coordinators who represent Saalex Solutions in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program do an amazing job of supporting their high-profile customers,” said Robert Fischer, ELVIS 3 Launch Site Support Engineer and Program Manager, “and they do it in support of one of our country’s most prestigious endeavors — human spaceflight.”
Saalex’s participation in the program has earned the company kudos from NASA. ELVIS 3 team members Mena Waters, Susan Sawyer, and Donna Atkinson recently received the space agency’s Group Achievement Award for their efforts as part of the CCP Program Control & Integration team, supporting the May Demo-2 launch.
The team members were commended for their “outstanding teamwork and above and beyond support to the Commercial Crew Program in achieving the very first commercial human spaceflight to the International Space Station and returning the capability to transport humans to Low Earth Orbit to the United States.” The commendation went on to state that the team was “instrumental in the planning and execution of highly integrated Agency-wide and inter-Agency mission critical support.”