SpaceX launches American astronauts for first time in almost 10 years

Ruben Fields
May 31, 2020

Protests have broken out in several American cities over the death of Mr Floyd, which briefly dominated the agenda over a domestic coronavirus death toll which has climbed past 100,000.

Live-coverage by NASA Live and participating streaming services is still going and will continue until tonight's news conference!

Trump said that the launch marks a commitment to a brighter future for all citizens on Earth.

With the on-time 3:22 p.m. liftoff, SpaceX, founded by Musk, the Tesla electric-car visionary, became the first private company to launch people toward/into orbit, a feat achieved previously by only three governments: the U.S., Russian Federation and China.

"This launch represents the realization of a decades' long dream to migrate part of human space exploration to private companies".

"For the first time in nine years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil". Nasa has awarded almost $8bn (£6.4bn) in total to SpaceX and Boeing for development of their rockets.

You can learn more about the NASA astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who are headed to the ISS, here. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence flew in for the event for the second time in four days.

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He held the Hong Kong portfolio on the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee before he became China's de facto emperor. Many residents are concerned that the law will undermine civil liberties and might be used to suppress political activity.

By NASA's count, over 3 million viewers tuned in online.

Despite NASA's insistence that the public stay safe by staying home, spectators gathered along beaches and roads hours in advance. "I thought it was so important to be here today", Trump said. "We've been bombarded with doom and gloom for the last six, eight weeks, whatever it is, and this is awesome".

The astronauts were kept in quasi-quarantine for more than two months before liftoff. At 04:55 p.m. EDT (01:55 p.m. PDT), the astronauts will take control of Crew Dragon for the first of two manual flight tests created to show that astronauts can take control in the event of a system's failure. Instead of the usual multitude of dials, knobs and switches, the Dragon capsule has three large touchscreens.

The spacecraft will rendezvous with the ISS tomorrow (Sunday, May 31st) at 10:29 a.m. EDT (07:29 a.m. PDT).

© David J. Philip/AP A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 30, 2020.

Both the crew and weather are "go" for launch, according to NASA. NASA owned and operated the ships.

"This is a great time in America to be able to do this again", Hurley said in comments May 20 when he and Behnken arrived at KSC for the launch, calling the development of commercial crew vehicles a "marathon" by NASA and SpaceX. He called the SpaceX chief "brilliant" and said Musk has "absolutely delivered" for NASA. That test was a success, and final testing of the spacecraft, including its revamped parachute system, cleared the way to proceed with the Demo-2 crewed mission.

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