Saturday, 23 January, 2021


Astronauts enter space station on historic SpaceX mission

Kristine Garrett | 27 August, 2020, 20:46

Behnken joked about Hurley's brief manual piloting experience.

Ever since the space shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian spaceships launched from Kazakhstan to take United States astronauts to and from the space station. It's also the first orbital journey in a commercially developed spacecraft.

"America is leading again in space", Bridenstine said.

Saturday's launch by SpaceX, the private rocket company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, represented another milestone for the reusable rockets it pioneered to make spaceflight less costly and more frequent.

The astronauts slept for about eight hours before the approach to the space station.

No issues with the spacecraft have been reported - described by a SpaceX commentator as "pretty boring for the astronauts, but that's what we wanted". At the 12-minute mark, the Dragon capsule separated from the second stage as it reached orbiting altitude.

"I wanted them to see the flip side and get to see the next era of space travel", said Gatz, who lives in Deltona, Florida.

The International Space Station was only accessible to NASA astronauts through the purchase of seats on Russian capsules launched from Kazakhstan- but that has all changed as of today.

If the mission ultimately is successful, NASA plans to launch another SpaceX capsule to the space station August 30, Bridenstine said.

Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, have been astronauts since their selection in 2000. With Demo-2 safely in orbit, SpaceX's inaugural astronaut launch is already well on its way to replicating the extraordinary success of the ship's launch debut.

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