SpaceX is the first private enterprise to send a manned mission into space
NASA and SpaceX’s joint manned mission to the International space station (ISS) concluded successfully with the two astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken’s parachuted capsule splashed into the Gulf of Mexico. This was the first water landing by a space crew since 1975.
Both pilots were found to be in sound health after they were recovered from the capsule. They remained in the ISS for 63 days. The capsule will be transported to the SpaceX’s Dragon lair at Cape Canaveral for intense testing to check its health. A single capsule can be used up to five times in space missions.
Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator, expressed delight at the occasion with more players entering the space race. “We are entering a new era of human spaceflight, where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware,” Bridenstine said in a press conference. “We are going to be a customer, one customer of many customers in a very robust commercial marketplace for human spaceflight to low Earth orbit.”
Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said the mission was “incredibly smooth” and a step to more ambitious trips.
Future space travel likely
The SpaceX COO is confident that this will lead to more frequent trips into space. ”This is really just the beginning,” she said. “We are starting the journey of bringing people regularly to and from low Earth orbit and onto the moon and then ultimately onto Mars,” Shotwell said.
The successful mission carried out in part by a private company indeed raises hopes for the future of commercial space travel. SpaceX intends to send space tourists as early as 2021. The cost of travel, for now, will be steeply priced. The high price is expected since the initial investment for the operations goes into billions of dollars.