US Astronauts Blast Into Space Aboard SpaceX Rocket

Katie Ramirez
June 1, 2020

SpaceX's astronaut-riding Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday, just hours after a historic liftoff from Florida.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will hold a news conference at 3:15 p.m. EDT from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to discuss the successful docking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The launch was the first for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, where SpaceX and eventually Boeing will launch astronauts from the United States under a NASA contract.

The Crew Dragon's passengers of NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are expected to stay onboard the ISS for about four months.

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SpaceX's recovery ship, called Go Navigator, will be waiting nearby to retrieve the duo and ferry them to Cape Canaveral. Bob and Doug completed a dress rehearsal Saturday, ahead of the launch attempt Wednesday.

The International Space Station is approximately 250 miles above Earth.While the Crew Dragon spacecraft will stay in space for around 110 days, once it is on the ISS, the length of the mission will be decided and will focus on planning for the next commercial crew flight.

Part of the United States space agency's Commercial Crew Program, this flight is SpaceX's final flight test before regular crewed flights begin to the ISS.

Two American astronauts lifted off into space Saturday afternoon, for the first time on a private rocket, almost a decade after the last launch of astronauts from American territory. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has described this part of the mission as his "biggest concern", according to Business Insider, owing to an asymmetrical design of the spaceship and a minor chance of rotation as it flies through the atmosphere at many times the speed of sound. We have not yet docked [with the ISS], and of course we need to bring them back safely.

"This certification and regular operation of Crew Dragon will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place on board the station, which benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the moon and Mars starting with the agency's Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024".

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