JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Josh Dobbs was nervous and awestruck at the same time while he was watching the historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch on Saturday morning.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback had spent a month at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, participating in an NFLPA externship, so he knew how much work and preparation went into the launch of the capsule that would eventually dock with the International Space Station. He told NBC Sports that he was amazed by the experience.
“I really felt the nervousness watching the countdown, knowing what those astronauts have gone through to get to this moment,” Dobbs said. “Being able to see the teamwork involved in preparation for this launch was incredible for me. It’s so much like a football team — you see how everyone doing their job fits together and makes something great happen. That’s what I really appreciated about the experience.”
Saturday’s launch is part of the Demo-2 mission, which is a partnership with SpaceX to send Americans to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. The Crew Dragon capsule launched at 3:22 p.m. ET Saturday and docked with the International Space Station at 10:16 a.m. ET Sunday. Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are expected to remain aboard for one to three months.
What Dobbs told NBC Sports echoes what he told ESPN last month in regard to what he experienced while he was watching a live simulation of the process of loading a rocket with propellant during his NFLPA externship in February. Dobbs said he was impressed by the intricacies of the teamwork required for just that one part of the totality required to launch a rocket into space. That’s no different from the process required to run just one football play, Dobbs said — on a significantly larger scale, of course.
“You’re in this big, wide room with hundreds of monitors, and the people I was with in instrumentation take up the five monitors to the right,” Dobbs told ESPN. “Everyone else is working on a completely different subsystem of this rocket, and everyone has to be on the p’s and q’s for the rocket to launch, for them to have a go for launch. So to be able to sit in there and see, OK, this correlates so much to football. … You have 53 people, but everyone’s different. But everyone still has to understand their position and how it affects the big picture for something as little as a play to go right and then for the team to win.
“To see the dynamics and it kind of is good to see them not in your normal everyday world of football. You’re able to see them in a different light, so you’re able to kind of rewire your mind to be able to apply those concepts to the football world.”
Dobbs graduated from Tennessee in 2017 with a degree — and 4.0 grade point average — in aerospace engineering.