SpaceX capsule delivers Nasa astronauts to ISS

James Marshall
June 2, 2020

"Today, the groundbreaking partnership between NASA and SpaceX has given our nation the gift of an unmatched power - a state-of-the-art spaceship to put our astronauts into orbit at a fraction of the cost of the space shuttle".

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken reported that the capsule was performing beautifully, as they closed in for the docking.

Behnken and Hurley are expected to remain on board the space station for one to three months.

A few hours before docking, the Dragon riders reported that the capsule was performing beautifully.

The five men posed for photos and then NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine spoke to the crew from mission control in Houston. SpaceX's launch of Hurley and Behnken ends a almost decade-long reliance on Russian Federation for access to the station. Ten million viewers around the world watched as the SpaceX rocket launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center yesterday.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk was choked up with emotion after his company successfully launched astronauts to space for the first time on Saturday (May 30).

Their successful arrival on the ISS marks a pivotal moment for Elon Musk's SpaceX, which built and guided the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the Falcon 9 rocket which powered the guys into the sky. Since the final flight of NASA's space shuttle program in July 2011, the space agency has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets and spacecraft to get its astronauts to and from the space station. An initial launch attempt was scrubbed on Wednesday as a result of bad weather.

The capsule spent 19 hours chasing down the station at speeds of up to 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 kph), before carefully aligning to its target and slowing to a crawl for the delicate docking procedure, which took place over northern China.

The aim of the mission is to demonstrate SpaceX's ability to ferry astronauts to the space station and back safely. SpaceX and NASA will determine the duration of their stay after they assess the condition of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in orbit as well as the Crew Dragon that will fly the Crew-1 mission this summer.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Michael Pence were present to witness the historic launch.

On Saturday evening Hurley announced that the spacecraft, previously known as capsule 206, has been renamed Endeavour, continuing the tradition of astronauts naming their capsules.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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