SpaceX and NASA have successfully launched the first manned mission into space from American soil in nine long years. On May 30th at 3:22 p.m. ET, SpaceX went to be the first private company to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
The two astronauts on board the Crew Dragon capsule are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, both veterans with a few missions under their belts. Initially, the Demo-2 mission was scheduled for Wednesday, but due to bad weather, the launch was delayed. This time, on Saturday afternoon, it went off without an issue, but with an emotional SpaceX and NASA team watching and monitoring the process.
Nine minutes after launch, SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rocket arrived safely on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean, which means the company will be able to keep and later reuse the rocket that just launched two humans into space.
The Crew Dragon Capsule Docked Safely
SpaceX Chief Engineer Bala Ramamurthy told NASA’s crew: “Thanks for flying on Falcon 9 today – we hope you enjoy the mission.”
The crew replied, saying: “It was incredible. I appreciate all the hard work. Thanks for the great ride to space.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also talked about the launch: “I’ve heard that rumble before, but it’s a whole different feeling when you’ve got your own team on that rocket. They are our team. They are America’s team. This is Launch America. This is everything America has to offer in its purest form.”
The mission is the first crewed launch from American soil since 2011 after former president Barak Obama canceled the Space Shuttle program to rely on otherwise extremely costly transports carried out by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
This morning, Behnken and Hurley arrived safely to the ISS at 10.16 a.m. ET as the capsule docked at the space station above the China-Mongolia border.