SpaceX has made a remarkable history. After two decades of hard work, Elon Musk finally sent two people into the space orbit in his Dragon Capsule. Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX has become the first company to send passengers to space on a private vehicle. Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon Capsule took off on 30th May at 3.22 PM (31st May, 12.52 AM IST) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
“Bob and Doug, on behalf of the entire launch team, thanks for flying with Falcon 9 today,” Crew Dragon’s chief engineer said to the two astronauts after they reached orbit. “We hope you enjoyed the ride and wish you a great mission.”
The mission is planned for roughly around 110 days. The SpaceX spaceship is being guided by the NASA space travellers, Bob Behnken and Doug Herley. Commander Doug Herley is responsible for the launch and landing of the aircraft whereas astronaut Bob Behnken will take care of the rendezvous and docking at the ISS. The spaceship will dock with the ISS in 19 hours after arriving at the orbit. They will join the team of existing ISS Expedition 63 crew. This crew comprises of a NASA space explorer Chris Cassidy and two cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin.
There is no information on when the astronauts will actually return to the Earth. According to NASA, the exact number of days will be confirmed once the space explorers reach the International Space Station.
Why Is This Mission Important?
Since 2011, the United States hasn’t launched its astronaut from the American soil. Till now, NASA’s astronaut had to travel to Russia to board on the Soyuz spaceecraft. Each seat costed for $86 million. But now, SpaceX has made it possible to have its own space shuttle.
This collaboration of NASA with a private company, SpaceX has driven down costs and spur innovation. Now, NASA can give its entire attention to deep space exploration.
Dragon spacecraft was already flying cargo to the International Space Station which was sponsored by NASA. In 2014, NASA awarded SpaceX with $2.6 million to build a crew worthy version of Dragon Spacecraft.
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