The lift arrived just after 3:20 ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Astronauts Robert Behnken (49) and Douglas Hurley (53) will spend about 19 hours on the SpaceX crew dragon capsules as they slowly make their way to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft is expected to dock through the space station at 10:10 a.m. on Sunday, May 31.
The United States has not launched its own spaceflight since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. Since then, NASA astronauts have had to travel to Russia and train for the country’s Soyuz spacecraft. NASA has spent $ 86 million for these seats.
The voyage marks the first time in history that a commercial space agency has taken a man into Earth orbit. SpaceX has been working on the Crew Dragon spacecraft for 15 years.
Despite the Covid-1p epidemic, the launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has moved forward, shutting down both private and government work across the United States. NASA says the International Space Station, a giant orbiting laboratory, could be fully staffed with U.S. astronauts, so the mission needed to continue.
NASA, SpaceX and military personnel gathered in the control room to support the launch and they took additional security measures, such as changing the control room as the new shift began so that the other room could be cleaned more deeply.
Prior to the inauguration, Jim Bradenstein, the space agency’s top official, said he hoped it would surprise and inspire the general public during the ongoing health crisis.
On Florida soil, local authorities were overflowing with spectators expected to gather at a nearby beach, which was recently reopened after weeks of lockouts in the fight against Covid-19.
Dozens of journalists from the press area were allowed to cover the launch at the Kennedy Space Center, but strict social distance policies and guidelines about wearing masks were enforced. Bridenstein kept most of the briefings on the telephone, for example, and the personal interviews were conducted one by one with the news crew.
The launch served as a kind of litmus test for NASA pressure to become more partners with the private sector.
SpaceX created Crew Dragon under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which, for the first time in the space agency’s history, handed over much of the design, development and testing of new man-rated spacecraft to the private sector. NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing a fixed price contract to do the job, and Boeing suffered a major setback during an unveiled test flight last year.
This decision was not without controversy, especially in the early days of the commercial crew program. But Wednesday’s success could be seen as a huge victory for NASA people who are hopeful they will rely more heavily on similar agreements to help the space agency achieve its goals.
Bridenstein, for example, hopes to rely heavily on private sector partnerships to achieve the space agency’s ambitious goal of landing American astronauts on the moon in 2024.
“Ultimately, what we’re trying to achieve is that there are many suppliers competing against each other in terms of cost, innovation and protection. And then NASA could be a customer, a customer of many customers and we already know that it will save a long term. Ton Ton, “Brydenstein told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane earlier this week.