Science

Elon Musk’s SpaceX sends 2 astronauts into space

"This also will be the first time NASA astronauts will test the spacecraft systems in orbit".

Since ending its Space Shuttle programme in 2011, Nasa has depended on Russia's space agency Roscosmos to transport its astronauts to the space station.

The mission lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday afternoon - the first crewed launch from USA soil in nine years.

NASA and SpaceX crews on the ground congratulated the astronauts, while astronaut Chris Cassidy - already on board the station - welcomed them.

Four years after Elon Musk began the project, and nine years after the last launch on American soil, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, and Musk's SpaceX have sent two Americans into space with the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Centre. Once safely returned to dry land, SpaceX will be able to reuse that booster on any number of upcoming commercial launches, possibly including missions for NASA.

More news: Bolt awaiting results of COVID test

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying at 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Traveling ~8 km/s (~5 mi/s), Crew Dragon will detach its expendable trunk, perform a several-minute retrograde burn with its Draco thrusters, point its ablative PICA-X heat shield towards its velocity vector, and careen through Earth's atmosphere, reaching spectacularly high temperatures.

Behnken and Hurley don't know how long they will be on the space station.

If the mission ultimately is successful, NASA plans to launch another SpaceX capsule to the space station August 30, Bridenstine said.

SpaceX's Demo-2 mission will get another chance at a launch today, May 30.



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