How To Watch the Historic SpaceX Launch Today

James Marshall
December 1, 2020

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have successfully reached orbit aboard a SpaceX spacecraft, the culmination of the better part of a decade of work.

SpaceX became the first private USA company to take NASA astronauts to space. Present on-board were NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who flew in the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX has successfully launched astronauts into orbit, becoming the first private company to do so and ending an nearly decade-long period of U.S. reliance on foreign launches. At the 12-minute mark, the Dragon capsule separated from the second stage as it reached orbiting altitude.

Moments after the Dragon capsule made it into orbit the crew were given a message from the team on the ground. Since after 2011, Americans had been hitching rides to space on Russian "flights".

British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted his congratulations to the astronauts, saying: "What a great launch and congratulations @SpaceX on making history. I loved watching the acceleration during the final minutes of launch - it's a insane, crazy feeling being hurled up to 27000kmh!"

On Wednesday, the planned launch was called off due to bad weather. Contrary to the usual NASA procedure, SpaceX fueled up the Falcon 9 after the two astronauts had already boarded the Dragon.

Behnken is the joint operations commander for the Demo-2 mission, responsible for activities such as rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as activities while the spacecraft is docked to the space station.

The astronauts will perform a variety of tasks aboard the Crew Dragon as part of the demo mission in addition to the manual-control demonstration.

"SpaceX is returning human spaceflight to the United States with one of the safest, most advanced systems ever built, and NASA's Commercial Crew Program is a turning point for America's future in space exploration that lays the groundwork for future missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond", according to SpaceX.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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