NASA and SpaceX Aim For Saturday Launch

James Marshall
August 13, 2020

A ham radio enthusiast from Ahmedabad on Wednesday got a response from SpaceX Crew Dragon's astronauts while trying to connect with International Space Station.

But unfavourable atmospheric conditions prompted controllers to call a stop just 16 minutes before lift-off. "The whole world saw this mission and we are so, so proud of everything you've done for our country and, in fact, to inspire the world", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told Behnken and Hurley at a conference call.

If that's no good, there would be a third opportunity on Sunday. This was the first launch from U.S. soil since NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011.

This would be the US's first crewed spacecraft launch since the end of NASA's space shuttle program in 2011.

"Let's light this candle", Hurley said just before ignition, borrowing the historic words used by Alan Shepard on America's first human spaceflight, in 1961.

SpaceX has officially made history with the first successful launch of humans into orbit by a private company.

The preparations took place in the shadow of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed an estimated 100,000 Americans. "I know I give the U.S. a hard time often. but thanks for the reminder of how incredible humanity can be".

After the launch on Saturday, Musk said he considers the launch a boost for SpaceX's ultimate goal of traveling to Mars.

While docking took place only 19 hours after liftoff, the two astronauts said they were able to test various aspects of the spacecraft, including the ability to sleep inside the capsule.

NASA pushed ahead with the launch despite the viral outbreak but kept the guest list at Kennedy extremely limited and asked spectators to stay at home.

Among the sightseers was Erin Gatz, who came prepared for both rain and pandemic. "I'm watching with my six-year old son".

Behnken and Hurley don't know how long they will be on the space station. "It's exciting and hopeful".

NASA has also partnered with Boeing Co. which has developed its own capsule.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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