SpaceX makes history as it's first private company sending astronauts into orbit

SpaceX makes history as it's first private company sending astronauts into orbit

Minutes after launch, the first-stage booster rocket of the Falcon 9 separated from the upper second-stage rocket and flew itself back to Earth to descend safely onto a landing platform floating in the Atlantic.

NASA astronauts are slated to launch a rocket to the International Space Station Wednesday afternoon, marking the first manned space mission since the shuttle program was retired in 2011.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched at 3:22 pm Eastern Time (ET) from Kennedy Space Center for the International Space Station (ISS), with two NASA astronauts - Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.

"I would like to greet our American colleagues", cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, Roscosmos executive director for crewed space programmes, said in a brief video address on the agency's Twitter page.

NASA hasn't sent astronauts into space from US territory since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011. According to the US military's 45th Space Wing, which oversees rocket launches, there is a 50% chance that the weather will be suitable for today's launch.

The United States' return to human space flight now comes at a similar time in the history of Apollo 8, the first human space flight around the Moon, in December 1968. Live coverage from NASA and SpaceX will continue the entire way. It is expected to fly its CST-100 Starliner with astronauts on board for the first time next year.

Under the new, 21st-century partnership, aerospace companies design, build, own and operate the spaceships, and NASA is essentially a paying customer on a list that could eventually include non-government researchers, artists and tourists. Joining him will be NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Kathy Lueders, a representative of SpaceX, ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman, and NASA Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester.

Musk, the South African-born high-tech entrepreneur who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, is also CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc.

Wednesday's countdown of the rocket and its bullet-shaped Dragon capsule was halted at just under 17 minutes because of the threat of lightning.

We hope NASA and SpaceX will make it happen again this weekend.

"It's just the beginning. many more things to come", Trump said, pointing to the launch of the Space Force.

Both companies launched their crew capsules past year with test dummies.

Dubbed Demo-2, this is a test flight.

A few days ago, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted how important it is, even during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, for a mission like the one we witnessed Saturday to go forward and give people something to be inspired by.

Astronauts Behnken and Hurley joined NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner on the station.

SpaceX's Dragon aced all of its objectives, while Boeing's Starliner capsule ended up in the wrong orbit and was nearly destroyed because of software errors.

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