SpaceX launch is the beginning of a new era of human spaceflight
NASA and SpaceX joined forces to send out two astronauts into space on the first commercially built spacecraft known as the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, the two astronauts, lifted off at 3:22 p.m. on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The program, which is known as the NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, is an end-to-end mission test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations. While SpaceX has launched a spacecraft before, this is the first time that there are astronauts onboard.
NASA’s Administrator Jim Bridenstine was overwhelmed by the occasion and felt it was a big step in further exploration of the moon and mars. He also thanked the astronauts for their contribution to the cause.
“Today, a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the International Space Station, our national lab orbiting Earth,” he said. “I thank and congratulate Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, and the SpaceX and NASA teams for this significant achievement for the United States. The launch of this commercial space system designed for humans is a phenomenal demonstration of American excellence and is an important step on our path to expand human exploration to the Moon and Mars.”
Elon Musk, the billionaire who is also the chief engineer of SpaceX, said it was a dream come true for everyone at his company. He also praised all the stakeholders who made it into a reality.
“This is a dream come true for me and everyone at SpaceX,” said Elon Musk, chief engineer at SpaceX. “It is the culmination of an incredible amount of work by the SpaceX team, by NASA, and by a number of other partners in the process of making this happen. You can look at this as the results of a hundred thousand people roughly when you add up all the suppliers and everyone working incredibly hard to make this day happen.”
While SpaceX will get validation for future space crafts that can carry astronauts, it is also a giant leap towards affordable commercial travel through space to save time on international flights.