NASA Astronauts Enter Quarantine Ahead of SpaceX Demo-2 Mission

Space X

"This simulator will familiarize you with the controls of the actual interface used by NASA astronauts to manually pilot the SpaceX Dragon 2 vehicles to the International Space Station", SpaceX said, warning that the process "requires patience and precision".

NASA clarified that although people globally were under various forms of quarantine to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the astronauts' new constraints are standard.

Falcon 9 rocket will take the aircraft on top of it from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But this kind of quarantine is not something new among astronauts.

The SpaceX Demo-2 mission is significant for a number of reasons.

Weather permitting, the astronauts will fly a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition to the quarantine period being increased from 7 to 14 days, contact with the two astronauts will be strictly managed. While the docking procedure is created to take place autonomously, astronauts Behnken and Hurley will be ready to step in to pilot the spacecraft manually - using controls similar to the simulator - if anything goes awry as they approach the space station. This strict quarantine is a routine measure created to ensure scientists don't get sick on mission or carry an infectious disease into space.

Isolating for two weeks before liftoff will ensure the astronauts will not carry any diseases into space that could threaten their mission or the health of their colleagues on the ISS. If they can "maintain quarantine conditions" at home, they can stay there until they travel to Kennedy Space Center on May 20. But US astronauts do have specific options when it comes to where they complete the quarantine.

Some additional safeguards have been added because of the coronavirus. NASA says any visitor "will be screened for temperature and symptoms, quot; before they are allowed to visit the launch site or speak to crew members". This is very different from the interfaces you'll see from archive footage taken from NASA's Apollo or Space Shuttle program, and clearly has been influenced by the modern era of omnipresent touchscreen devices.

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