SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, for the first time, NASA launched two American astronauts into the orbit.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley appear at the orbit at 10:16 a.m. Eastern time Sunday, May 31, about 19 hours after lifting off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The rocket reached orbit 12 minutes later and will spend 19 hours run after the space station 250 miles above the globe. Both the astronauts will remain in the orbit for up to 120 days.
Sorrowfully, there was no big crowd to watch the launch, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 10 million people watched Crew Dragon’s launch online and on television.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among those who gathered with Musk to watch the performance. Trump spoke to two both the astronauts before the launch.
“They have a long way to go but that’s a very dangerous part of it there,” Trump said.
The launch and the opening stage of the journey proceeded smoothly. The rocket booster came back to the Earth and stuck the landing on a drone ship.
Both the astronauts joined the Expedition 63 crews, their journey known as Demo-2. The final major test of SpaceX’s human spaceflight system before the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certifies it to fly working missions to the space station.
“Today a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the International Space Station, our national lab orbiting Earth,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Bob Behnken is the joint operations commander for the mission and is responsible for the activities like docking and undocking, meeting. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in the year 2000 and has completed two space shuttle flights. He flew in March 2008 in STS-123 and in February 2010 in STS-130. Before NASA, he was a flight engineer with the U.S. Air Force.
Hurley is the spacecraft commander responsible for the launch, recovery, and landing. He completed two spaceflights and was selected as an astronaut in the year 2000. He served as a pilot and lead robotics operator for both the operations which were held in July 2009 for STS-127 and in July 2011 for STS-135. Before NASA he was a test and fighter pilot in U.S. Marine Corps.
The weather cooperated for Saturday’s launch, in spite of NASA administration Jim Bridenstine said that there is a 50% chance of cancellation due to weather.
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