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[Slashdot] - SpaceX vs. Space Shuttle: NASA's Falcon 9 Astronauts Compare the Differences

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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew to the International Space Station on SpaceX's Crew Dragon. But they're also uniquely qualified to describe what it felt like, since both had also flown twice on NASA's Space Shuttle. So how did its solid-fueled booster rockets during the first stage of lift-off compare to SpaceX's liquid-fueled booster rockets? Slashdot reader Iwastheone shares their answer, in an article from Spaceflight Now: The Crew Dragon astronauts said the ride on the Falcon 9 rocket was smoother than the space shuttle for the first couple of minutes... "[O]ur expectation was, as we continued with the flight into second stage, that things would basically get a lot smoother than the space shuttle did. But Dragon was huffing and puffing all the way into orbit..." Behnken said. "A little bit less Gs, but a little bit more alive is probably the best way I would describe it." Hurley said, "it was very similar to what you saw in the Apollo 13 movie, where they staged from first to second stage... "That was the highlight of the ascent for me," Hurley said. "So totally different than shuttle," Hurley said. "It was smooth. It got a little rougher." The Dragon's automatic docking with the space station felt more gentle than expected, Hurley said. "The thing that really stood out to both us — and we mentioned it was soon as we docked — is we didn't feel the docking," he said. "It was just so smooth, and then we were docked. In shuttle, you felt a little bit of a jolt, nothing real heavy, but you felt it." Hurley and Behnken also had positive reviews for their SpaceX-made pressure suits. The astronauts wore them during launch and docking, and will put them on again for their return to Earth — expected in late July or August. "They're custom designed and custom fitted, so they're very comfortable," Hurley said. The astronauts said taking off the suits and putting them on in space, without the effect of gravity, was much easier than on Earth. "We'd have to give the suits a five star rating," Behnken said.... "For us — as the test pilots, so to speak — we're there to evaluate how it does the mission, and so far it's done just absolutely spectacularly," Hurley said.

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