Slated for launch on wednesday May 27, 22:32 CET, the US will again be capable to bring humans into orbital Space. The US had grounded itself for nearly a decade, when on July 8 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made a full stop on the massive Kennedy Space Center landing strip. Now, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is ready to go with 2 astronauts to bring a visit to the International Space Station. An historic step in the heritage line that started with the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programmes in the 60s, and continued from there onwards with the Space Shuttle programme. Now the US has embarked on a new, more commercially oriented, model for bringing astronauts into orbital Space. Where previous Human Spaceflight endeavours were fully executed by NASA staff and contractors, now the Human access to orbital space is bought by NASA as a service from SpaceX. I just wished they did the same thing for Deep Space Exploration and had motballed SLS by now.
Human access to Space is a highly prolific achievement in the geopolitical context. I believe, if everything goes well with the Crew Dragon, Soyuz is doomed and tensions between US and Russia will rise further. Europe traditionally has declined to play a role in Human access to Space. From a practical point of view, the economic investment is too big and the economic and scientific returns are too marginal. Yet, from an inspirational and geopolitical dimension, it might just need to step into the game. Let's get Hermes to fly again!