NASA heralds 'new era' of human spaceflight — NASA SpaceX launch

James Marshall
October 11, 2020

In front of more than 10 million viewers and the American President Donald Trump, who had made the trip to Cape Canaveral (Florida), the two American astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were propelled in 10 minutes to 200 km above the oceans, spinning at more than 20 times the speed of sound in their Crew Dragon capsule. Just before liftoff, Hurley said, "SpaceX, we're go for launch". SpaceX will also be live-streaming the event on its YouTube channel, so all future astronauts are able to tune in to watch.

With its Crew Dragon spacecraft, SpaceX still hopes it will be the first private company to fly humans into orbit. For anyone that's experienced Space Shuttle launches over the former vehicle's three decades of operations, these kinds of weather-related scrubs - let alone the technical faults that often delayed Shuttle launches - were a constant feature of the system. Weather is one of the main reasons for delays. Contrary to the usual NASA procedure, SpaceX fueled up the Falcon 9 after the two astronauts had already boarded the Dragon. Boeing also preparing to carry people to the orbiting lab as part of the same "Commercial Crew" program at NASA.

Alongside an image of the landmark moment, NASA said: "A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida".

But this is not the first time NASA astronauts will wear an Omega X-33 on a mission.

"The test flight serves as an end-to-end demonstration of SpaceX's crew transportation system".

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