After the launch attempt on May 27 had to be postponed due to weather, NASA and SpaceX finally succeeded in launching astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, today (May 30).
SpaceX is now the first private space company to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Here is what you should know.
SpaceX Makes History With Its First Crewed Launch
This Saturday (May 30) marks the first time since the 2011 final of the Space Shuttle program that American spacecraft has sent NASA astronauts into orbit and on to the ISS.
Elon Musk’s space company launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon vehicle took off from NASA’s historic Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 PM ET. The capsule became the first privately developed and built spacecraft to send astronauts to space.
The astronauts are scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Sunday morning (May 31). The duo will spend a few months onboard the space station before returning.
In addition to the launch, Musk’s company also successfully grounded the Falcon 9 rocket booster – the bigger lower part of the rocket which re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and reached the SpaceX’s drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ever since the space shuttle program ceased its actions almost a decade ago, the US has paid Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, to send NASA astronauts to the ISS. But NASA awarded last year SpaceX and Boeing with contracts worth $3.1 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively, to build new spacecraft under a program known as Commercial Crew. For SpaceX, the Demo-2 launch is the last flight test of its Crew Dragon capsule, which was developed to send seven people to orbit.
“We’re at the dawn of a new age, and we’re really leading the beginning of the space revolution,” stated Jim Morhard, NASA’s deputy administrator.