Home Science Crew Dragon astronauts to receive rare space medal from the White House

Crew Dragon astronauts to receive rare space medal from the White House

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Expanding / NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken (foreground) work on the Crew Dragon touchscreen display.

NASA

Vice President Kamala Harris will present the Congressional Space Medal of Honor to Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken on Tuesday. The former NASA astronaut launched in May 2020 with the debut flight of his Crew Dragon spacecraft for SpaceX.

The spacecraft commander, Hurley, and its pilot, Behnken, receive medals for “courage” displayed during the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Their debut mission was a complete success, and since this pioneering flight, NASA has completed five of his operational missions aboard Crew Dragon, along with his two private space flights.

A working Crew Dragon provided NASA with the only means of reaching the space station other than a Russian Soyuz vehicle. The space agency has been spared the embarrassment of having to rely on Russia for this transport amid mounting tensions surrounding the war in Ukraine.

Outside of the Space Circle, the Space Medal isn’t a particularly prestigious honor. Especially since it hasn’t been awarded for nearly 20 years. However, medals are a prestigious thing and are often only given to astronauts who die during space flight activities.

Congressional Space Medal of Honor for over 40 years just been awarded to 28 astronauts so far. 17 of his planes were given posthumously to the crews of the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia accidents.

The United States Congress authorized the President to award medals “to astronauts who have performed their duties by virtue of extraordinary and commendable effort and service to the welfare of the nation and of mankind.”

President Carter presented the first awards to Apollo program astronauts Neil Armstrong, Frank Borman and Pete Conrad. Gemini Gus Grissom. In 1978 it was awarded to Mercury’s Alan Shepard and John Glenn. If not awarded posthumously, the award went to pioneers such as Shannon Lucid, who made long-duration spaceflights on the Mir Space Station, and to astronauts who were the first to fly in new vehicles. space shuttle John Young and Robert Crippen.

Additional astronauts may pioneer new spacecraft and qualify for medals in the next two years.

Later this spring, in April, Butch Willmore and Suni Williams will perform the first crewed launch to the space station aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. Then, perhaps in late 2024 or early 2025, he’ll orbit the moon with four astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft. These four crew members for the Artemis II mission, which is expected to include Canadian astronauts, could be named sometime this spring.

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