Sunday, 17 January, 2021


NASA Astronauts Launched By SpaceX Reach International Space Station, Celebrate Historic Moment

Kristine Garrett | 26 August, 2020, 22:29

The launch is also the first time a private company ― in this case, billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX ― has put people in space.

They will try again Saturday.

In the mission, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will ride the company's Dragon capsule to the space station.

The launch is historic in part because it ends a almost 10-year-long US dependency on Russian Federation for seats to space. It was the first crewed launch from American soil in nearly nine years following the retirement of the Space Shuttle program.

After testing the capsule's manual flight capabilities, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken settled in Sunday morning for an autonomous docking sequence with the space station.

On Saturday, stormy weather threatened another postponement for most of the day, but the skies began to clear just in time.

Behnken and Hurley will stay at the space station for up to 100 days to complete all test objectives.

SpaceX has become the first private enterprise to successfully take people to space following the mission's success, a feat only previously achieved by national space agencies.

For Musk, the launch represents another milestone for the reusable rockets his company pioneered to make spaceflight less costly and more frequent. While the Crew Dragon capsule does have its own SuperDraco engines, both as backup propulsion and as a launch-abort system, they won't be used in this mission.

The mission unfolded amid the gloom of the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans, and racial unrest across the USA over the case of George Floyd, the handcuffed black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Since NASA retired its space shuttle in 2011, it outsourced the job of building its next generation of spaceships to SpaceX and Boeing.

With this launch, he said, "everybody can look up and say, 'Look, the future is so much brighter than the present.′ And I really hope that this is an inspiration to the world". Boeing's ship is not expected to fly astronauts into space until early 2021.

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