LIFTOFF: NASA resumes human spaceflight with historic SpaceX launch

James Marshall
January 10, 2021

Hurley, 53, and Behnken, 49, NASA employees under contract to fly with SpaceX, are expected to remain at the space station for several weeks, assisting a short-handed crew aboard the orbital laboratory.

NASA on Twitter shared a video - which showed the astronauts hugging.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:22 p.m.

SpaceX has become the first private company in history to launch astronauts into orbit, overcoming myriad industry, bureaucratic, technical, and weather hurdles to send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on their way 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 USA reliance on foreign launches. Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are co-commanders on the mission.

Christina Koch is a NASA astronaut who made four spacewalks and spent the longest amount of time on a single trip to space of any female astronaut.

They're headed to the International Space Station. Eastern Time. The spacecraft is created to do this autonomously, but the two astronauts and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary. Koch said the model SpaceX and NASA used for the launch will be one other private companies can replicate in the future.

Today's launch kicks off a multi-week mission for Behnken and Hurley, which next involves a rendezvous with the ISS around 19 hours from now.

Once it's determined when they're coming back, they'll climb back aboard the Crew Dragon, seal it up and then detach from the station.

The test flight also will provide valuable data toward certification of SpaceX's crew transportation system for regular flights carrying astronauts to and from the space station.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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