Science

Liftoff! Astronauts Head To Space Station On SpaceX Rocket

Liftoff! Astronauts Head To Space Station On SpaceX Rocket”

SpaceX is scheduled to fly seven Dragon missions to the space station over the next 14 months, three manned, and four cargo, as the United States government space agency NASA increasingly turns to commercial cooperation as it expands space exploration, including programmes to explore the moon and Mars.

The four astronauts will be joining two Russians and one American who flew to the space station last month from Kazakhstan. If SpaceX's Crew-1 Crew Dragon and CRS-21 Cargo Dragon launches are successful, the private USA company will effectively become the backbone of U.S. spaceflight, nearly singlehandedly reasserting the country's position as a competitive space power.

Sunday's historic launch-the first of six planned NASA/SpaceX Commercial Crew Program flights-paves the way for a future of routine launches, ferrying worldwide scientists to and from the ISS.

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker (1st L), Victor Glover (2nd L), Mike Hopkins (2nd R), and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, wave as they walk out of the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to depart for Launch Complex 39A to board the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-1 mission launch at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the United States, on November 15, 2020.

SpaceX also reported the successful retrieval of the first stage booster of the Falcon 9 rocket, which landed aboard their "Just Read the Instructions" drone ship 11 minutes after launch. Their mission is due to last about six months.

NASA policy is that anyone testing positive for the virus to quarantine and remain isolated.

Crew-1-launch-NASA
The Crew-1 Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 39A atop a Falcon 9 booster rocket

"In such a insane year, we have finally some great news", said Sophia Giallanza, who came from Miami with her husband and son to see their first launch.

They rode out to the launch pad in Teslas - another Musk company product - after exchanging high-fives and embraces with their children and spouses, who huddled at the open vehicle windows.

-The Japanese Space Agency's Soichi Noguchi, 55, another former station resident, is only the third person to launch on three types of spacecraft. To accomplish that feat, SpaceX will begin to delve deep into reusability, reusing both Crew and Cargo Dragons and the Falcon 9 boosters tasked with launching them. That's now targeted for the end of March, which would set up the newly launched astronauts for a return to Earth in April.

In honor of all the struggling families and people who have been affected by the global pandemic, SpaceX chose to name the Crew Dragon that would be taking the four astronauts to the ISS Resilience. SpaceX plans to launch yet another crew in late summer or early fall.

This is the first time NASA has launched a human spaceflight mission from American soil since the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Following the shuttle's retirement, NASA spent the better part of a decade paying the Russian space agency for seats aboard its Soyuz rockets.

More news: China rescues seven miners after 14 days trapped underground



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