Over the weekend, SpaceX made history by successfully launching its first operational flight with four astronauts in the commercially-developed Crew Dragon. The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday marked the beginning of a 27-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS). It was also SpaceX’s first flight with an international crew, and its first regularly scheduled flight.
The crew is manned by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The rocket is scheduled to dock with the space station November 16 at midnight EST. If everything goes smoothly, the flight will also be completed autonomously, without the crew needing to touch the Crew Dragon’s touchscreens.
The Crew-1 mission marks a decade of work between SpaceX and NASA, and their goal to build a spaceship that can get humans to the ISS and back to Earth safely. It also marks another huge milestone for NASA: to provide an independent means for astronauts to launch from the United States, rather than from Kazakhstan. It’s a big win, given the agency’s space shuttle retirement in 2011. NASA will still work with Russia to maintain the ISS, but now SpaceX represents a second option for putting humans in space.
Yesterday’s manned launch was not SpaceX’s first, however. It sent two astronauts to the International Space Station back in May, and was the first private company to put astronauts into orbit. SpaceX is also focused on commercial spaceflight, and its Crew Dragon spaceship is scheduled to take actor Tom Cruise on a commercial mission in about a year.
via Ars Technica
Send your news and stories to us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.