The departure occurred just after ET at 15:20 hours from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. 49-year-old astronauts Robert Behnken and 53-year-old Douglas Hurley will spend about 19 hours in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule because it will slowly maneuver towards the International Space Station.
The spacecraft is expected to be ET at 22:29 on Sunday, May 31, with the space station.
Since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011, the U.S. has not launched its own astronauts into space. Since then, NASA’s astronauts have had to travel to Russia and train the country’s Soyuz spacecraft. These seats cost NASA $ 86 million each.
The launch said for the first time in history that a commercial aviation company carried people into Earth’s orbit. SpaceX has been working on the Crew Dragon spacecraft for 15 years.
The launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft has progressed despite the Covid-19 outbreak that has blocked private and government operations in the U.S. NASA said the International Space Station, a gigantic orbital lab, should continue its mission to ensure full deployment with US astronauts.
NASA, SpaceX and military personnel gathered in control rooms to support launch and took additional security measures, such as changing control rooms when a new shift started, so that the other room can be cleaned in depth.
Prior to launch, Jim Bridenstine, the senior agency of the space agency, said he hoped that he would awaken awe and raise the general public during the ongoing health crisis.
In Florida, local officials were preparing for an influx of spectators expected to gather on nearby beaches reopened after weeks of lockup after the war against Covid-19.
Several dozen journalists were allowed to cover the launch from the press space at the Kennedy Space Center, but strict social distance policies and guidelines were followed for wearing masks. For example, Bridenstine held most briefings over the phone, and face-to-face interviews were conducted individually with news teams.
This launch also served as a kind of litmus test for NASA to partner more extensively with the private sector.
For the first time in NASA’s Space Crew history, SpaceX developed Crew Dragon as part of the Commercial Team Program, which handed over most of the design, development and testing of the new-grade spacecraft to the private sector. NASA gave SpaceX and Boeing fixed-price contracts to get the job done, and after Boeing experienced a major setback during a non-crew test flight last year,
This decision was not without controversy, especially in the early days of the Commercial Crew Program. But Wednesday’s success can be seen as a big win for people at NASA who hope to rely more closely on similar contracts to help achieve the space agency’s goals.
Bridenstine, for example, hopes to rely heavily on private partnerships to realize the space agency’s claim to bring U.S. astronauts to the moon in 2024.
“Ultimately, what we are trying to achieve is to have a large number of providers competing with costs, innovations and security. And then NASA can be a customer, a customer of many customers, and we already know that this will save a ton of money in the long run.” Bridenstine CNN He told Business Crane Rachel Crane earlier this week.