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Air Force rescue crews ready in case of SpaceX, Boeing launch malfunctions

By
Jake Thomas
When the SpaceX Crew-3 mission launches on Oct. 31 -- four astronauts aboard the company's Crew Dragon capsule, sent to space on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, similar to the April launch pictured -- members of the Air Force's 38th Rescue Squadron will be monitoring in case of a mishap or emergency. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI
When the SpaceX Crew-3 mission launches on Oct. 31 -- four astronauts aboard the company's Crew Dragon capsule, sent to space on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, similar to the April launch pictured -- members of the Air Force's 38th Rescue Squadron will be monitoring in case of a mishap or emergency. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Air Force rescue teams have completed training in preparation for possible emergency bailouts of space launches by SpaceX and Boeing.

The training took place last week in the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River near the Florida-based Patrick Space Force Base, the Air Force said Monday in a press release.

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The teams included pararescuemen, airmen and maritime operations from the 38th Rescue Squadron from the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

Boeing has plans to launch its unmanned Starliner spacecraft from Florida. Earlier this month, Boeing postponed the launch because of problems with valves in the capsule's propulsion system.

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SpaceX, the private space travel company owned by business magnate Elon Musk, plans to launch the Crew-3 mission on Oct. 31, for which the 38th RSQ said it will be prepared to respond, if need be.

Crew-3 will send four astronauts -- three from NASA and one from the European Space Agency -- to the International Space Station for what is likely to be a six-month mission.

The company's Crew Dragon capsules are designed to detach and jettison away from the rocket to avoid a potential explosion or other hazards should a malfunction happen.

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Pararescue jumpers will go aboard the capsule after it has landed in the ocean and extract anyone on board.

As part of the training, members of the 38th Rescue Squadron Blue Team performed free fall jumps and equipment drops into the water.

Rescue teams need to be proficient in safely landing in the ocean with gear, including with inflatable boats that can boats can be loaded with medical supplies, paddles and other supplies.

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The Air Force said routine exercises like these keep teams ready for other rescue operations in other settings.

"It reassures them that if they do have an emergency, they know there's a team who is highly trained in these types of rescues," Tech. Sgt. Michael Galindo, 38th pararescueman and Blue Team section chief, said in the press release.

"It's important for us to constantly keep current on this type of jump because there's a lot that goes into it," Galindo said.

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