SpaceX Successfully Launches NASA Astronauts Into Space

Katie Ramirez
June 1, 2020

The spacecraft was launched by NASA and SpaceX from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, and the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket also successfully landed back on the company's drone ship dubbed "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic afterwards.

"I think this is something that's particularly important in the United States but appeals to everyone throughout the world who has within them the spirit of exploration", Musk said.

The arrival completed the first leg of the trip, created to test the capabilities of the Crew Dragon capsule.

The two NASA astronauts aboard the flight have now joined the crew aboard the orbiting laboratory, where they will spend some time before hopping back into the Crew Dragon capsule and making a break for home. But the mission will only be declared a success when the astronauts return safely to Earth in a few months' time.

Demo-2 astronaut Doug Hurley says goodbye to his family from inside the Tesla that transported him and his crewmate Bob Behnken to the launch pad, on May 30, 2020. During the mission, the crew and SpaceX mission controllers will verify the performance of the spacecraft's environmental control system, displays and control system, maneuvering thrusters, autonomous docking capability, and more. "So that is what we chose to go with".

The astronauts docked at 10:16 a.m. ET, 19 hours after liftoff, NASA reported. Inside NASA's mission control in Houston, and SpaceX's headquarters outside of Los Angeles, controllers called through a series of maneuvers that seemed to go off without a hitch, one by one.

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Trump said "we will stand with the family of George Floyd, with the peaceful protesters and with every law-abiding citizen who wants decency, civility, safety and security".

"Today onboard the [station], the three crew members, Chris Cassidy, Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin, are getting ready to have their additional crewmates onboard", said Kirk Shireman, manager of NASA's International Space Station Program.

"The hysteria raised after the successful launch of the [SpaceX] Crew Dragon spacecraft is hard to understand", Vladimir Ustimenko, a spokesperson for Roscosmos, wrote on Twitter, referring to Trump's statement.

"The whole world saw this mission, and we are so, so proud of everything you have done for our country and, in fact, to inspire the world", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. Instead of owning and operating the spacecraft itself, Bridenstine said, the future of the agency will lie with partnering with the growing commercial space sector, as it has with SpaceX. "And it represents a transition in how we do spaceflight from the United States of America".

Initially the launch had been expected to take place on Wednesday, but was postponed after concerns over the weather.

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