NASA, SpaceX create history with launch of two astronauts from US soil into Earth's orbit in a decade
Florida/IBNS: Ushering in a new era in space travel, a SpaceX spacecraft carrying two NASA astronauts headed into outer space, the first in nearly a decade, from Florida's Kennedy Space Center in the United States on Saturday.
This is the first time humans have travelled into Earth's orbit from the US soil in nearly a decade.
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, will spend about 19 hours aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule and during this period, the same will slowly manoeuvre its way toward the International Space Station.
This test flight with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board the Dragon spacecraft returned human spaceflight to the United States.
Crew Dragon will autonomously dock to the International Space Station at about 10:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 31.
United States President Donald Trump was present during the liftoff, which occurred after 3:20 pm ET from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.
Nearly 4 years ago President @realDonaldTrump told America and the world: “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space.” Now, the United States is once again launching American Astronauts into space on American rockets from American soil! pic.twitter.com/E6GRNL2wwT— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) May 31, 2020
The US hasn't sent its own astronauts into space since the termination of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
After witnessing the liftoff, Donald Trump called the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch on a historic first private crewed flight into space "incredible."
"This is just the beginning. It's really something special. Space will be one of the most important things we have ever done," Trump said adding that "nobody does it like us."
The project took off despite the threat from the highly contagious Coronavirus, which claimed over 1 lakh lives in the United States and after weeks of closure in the country.
This launch is seen as crucial step after NASA's push to partner more extensively with the private sector.
SpaceX developed the Crew Dragon under NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
For the first time in the space agency's history, NASA handed over much of the design, development and testing of new human-rated spacecraft to the private sector.
NASA also awarded SpaceX and Boeing a fixed-price contract to accomplish the project.