Nasa and SpaceX have teamed up to launch the first astronauts into space from the US since 2011. What makes this mission different from previous ones? The two astronauts leaving earth will be the first to do so aboard a commercial spacecraft, called the Dragon.
SpaceX was founded 18 years ago by Elon Musk and since its inception it has made some notable achievements. Including being the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit in 2008, to launching an object (a Tesla, of course) into orbit around the sun in 2018. Under their partnership with NASA, SpaceX has also flown 20 resupply missions to the ISS, leading to their development contract on the Dragon for human transport. It has taken six years of development, research and testing to prepare for this historic mission.
According to NASA, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were among the first astronauts to begin working and training on this next-generation space vehicle. Both men have several missions on the space shuttle under their belt and are prepared for their journey into orbit. Hurley and Behnken each have their specific set of responsibilities for the mission which include docking and undocking, launch, landing and recovery. Once aboard the ISS, they will be welcomes as part of the Expedition 63 crew, joining the space station team and conducting further research. Hurley and Behnken have the ability to stay in orbit for at least 210 days, depending on readiness of the next commercial crew launch.
The launch was scheduled for the afternoon of May 27th ,but grey clouds and less-than-ideal conditions have delayed the mission to Saturday, May 30th at 3:22pm EST. The rocket will take off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida from Launch Complex 39A, rented by SpaceX. You can watch this historic mission take off on several news channels or on NASA’s own site https://www.nasa.gov/.