America’s Triumphant Return to Space: Tour of the Capsule Endeavour

From Earth orbit, Marine Corps Col. (Ret.) Douglas Hurley and fellow crew member Robert Behnken announce the name of their SpaceX capsule and provide a tour of it. Hurley, a former test and fighter pilot, and Behnken launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station, May 30, 2020. The mission marks the resumption of human space flight from the United States. (U.S. Marine Corps video courtesy of NASA)

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Dragon SpaceX, you are go to begin the media event.

Dragon copies. Well, everyone, welcome aboard Dragon. My name is Doug. Next to me is Bob, you probably know him. We’re so glad to be with you this evening and welcome you onboard the Dragon. Got a couple things we wanna talk about first before we kinda show you around. The first is kind of a tradition we’ve had over the years with spacecraft, going way back to the Mercury era. A tradition that’s been carried on ever since with all our space vehicles, including the Soyuz. We’re given the honor to name this capsule. I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as Capsule 206, but I think all of us thought that we could maybe do a little bit better than that. So, without further ado we would like to welcome you aboard Capsule Endeavour. We chose Endeavour for a few reasons. One, because of this incredible endeavor NASA, SpaceX and the United States has been on since the end of the shuttle program back in 2011. The other reason we named it Endeavour is a little more personal to Bob and I. We both had our first flights on Shuttle Endeavour, and it just meant so much to us to carry on that name, that’s what we decided to go with. So, we hope you enjoy that name, and once again, welcome onboard.

Well, good evening, everybody, and welcome aboard Endeavour, the SpaceX vehicle headed to the International Space Station. Today, we accomplished the first flight off the Florida coast in quite some time, and Doug and I were really proud to have an opportunity to be a part of that. We’re doing it in a brand-new spaceship, a spaceship that’s a lot different than its namesake Endeavour, the space shuttle, in that it has touch display screens that allow us to accomplish most of the interfacing requirements that we have. Doug pans over and points at the display in front of me. You can see the forward view that we had during the maneuvers that we most recently did. You can look out the window. Looks like the centerline camera doesn’t have a lotta content on it now. We’re kinda pointed into space so that the windows can see the Earth below us. But we’ve got the capability to interface with the vehicle. And it’s kinda interesting, there’s a command, this little button over here is actually what the commands are for our displays. One thing that does get lost is there is a extensive button panel down below, as well. So over on this side we can turn the displays on and off as well as send some commands for some contingency situations. On the other side we have the ability to deploy chutes and things like that on entry. So we do have some buttons but the primary interface is these displays. So nice, new modern cockpit that we’ve got, compared to our namesake, the Space Shuttle Endeavour. I’m gonna migrate a little bit away from our seats here and Doug, from his seat, is going to continue to try to follow me so you tell what can be seen from the seat that he sits in. So from his seat, when he is in the vehicle, strapped in, this is what his view actually looks like. You can see a window off to the one side. We each have a window that we can view out and see what’s going on outside. That was exciting on ascent for us to be able to see the arm rotate away from the pad, and that’s when we both, I think, knew that we were gonna launch today, so that was super cool. I’ve got one on my side, as well. The hatch that we came in is the hatch that’s right behind me. It is a little bit of a tight quarters, but I’m going to try to demonstrate some of the capability that we have now that we’re in zero gravity. I think I was requested to do a back flip. I’m gonna kinda do a side spin, which is a little bit of a permutation on that request. So hopefully you can see what it’s like to actually float in zero gravity, and Doug and I are super excited that we got the opportunity to do this again today, even before the end of May, so that was super cool. We did, it turns out, end up with one stowaway onboard our vehicle when we launched today. It was not just Doug and I to accomplish the launch here. We do have an Apatosaurus aboard. We both have two boys who are super interested in dinosaurs, and we collected up all the dinosaurs between the two houses and Trimmer, the Apatosaurus, got the vote from the boys to make the trip into space today with us. So that was a super cool thing for us to get a chance to do for both of our sons, who I hope are super excited to see their toys floating around with us onboard. I’m sure they would rather be here, given the opportunity, but hopefully they’re proud of this, as well.

Okay, as we work our way towards one of the windows, unfortunately it’s getting a little bit dark. I don’t know if Bob can pan over here. We’re now just past off of the coast of Newfoundland and we’re headed over the Atlantic right now. I don’t know if you can get a good picture of that. Anyway, hopefully you enjoy that view as we pass over the Atlantic, and I think with that we will work ourselves back into the seats and wrap things up for this evening.

So, Doug’s there, making a nice big smile for the camera. I hope you enjoyed the trip today with us onboard the Dragon Capsule Endeavor with our friend Trimmer the Apatosaurus. And Doug and I would just like to thank SpaceX, we’d like to thank NASA and we’d like to thank the American people for the opportunity today. And we’re really proud of the entire team that was able to accomplish human spaceflight again from the Florida coast, just a wonderful experience. Doug and I are just so proud to be a part of it and just want to thank everybody who gave us this opportunity and worked so hard to make this happen today.

So, with that, I think it’ll be goodnight from Capsule Endeavour. Goodnight to everyone at NASA, at SpaceX and the United States, and congratulations to the teams that got us into orbit. And we’re looking forward to seeing Chris Cassidy and his Russian colleagues onboard the International Space Station tomorrow morning.

Goodnight, Megan and Theo!

And Karen and Jack.

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