SpaceX and NASA launched the first commercial spacecraft to orbit and start the new era of human spaceflights
After nearly a decade, the US has finally sent astronauts again out into the space.
The first commercial built spacecraft and rocket designed by SpaceX is a huge milestone in space flights history. The capsule Crew Dragon has been launched into orbit Saturday.
The spacecraft lifted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. ET on a test flight to the International Space Station. This is a really key moment that kicks off the industry of the commercial space flights.
“We’re at the dawn of a new age, and we’re really leading the beginning of a space revolution,” James Morhard, NASA’s deputy administrator, said Friday in a news briefing. “This is something much bigger than all of us.”
The rocket’s first stage Falcon 9 fell back and 10 minutes after the liftoff and landed with no problems on SpaceX’s drone ship off the coast of Florida following a message to the astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from the mission controllers wishing them a good mission.
“It was incredible," Behnken said from orbit. "Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space."
NASA officials said they are looking forward to astronaut crews making regular trips to and from the space station from U.S. soil, followed by crewed journeys to the moon and eventually Mars.
“I remember when I was in second grade watching the space shuttle launch,” NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who spent 141 days living and working on the space station in 2015, said Friday in a news briefing. “That inspired me to recognize that this job of exploration was a possibility for me. [SpaceX’s] launch is going to do that for the next generation of scientists, explorers and astronauts.”
President Donald Trump witnessed the launch and became the first US president watching the crewed rocket’s start from the Kennedy Space Center since 1998. Before him, Bill Clinton watched the space shuttle Discovery blast off.
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, if the SpaceX mission is completed successfully it can begin flying crews to the orbiting outpost in August.