SpaceX has successfully carried two of NASA's astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. The endeavor marked the first time a space launch was conducted on US Soil in nearly ten years.
The weekend launch marked a new era of space travel as onlookers gazed at the space agency's Falcon 9 rocket lift off with two passengers on board. After a 19-hour journey through space, the pair of astronauts safely arrived at the ISS, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
A historical meet-up
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were at the front seat and monitored the Crew Dragon capsule's systems as it made its way to the station. At 10:16 a.m. ET, the capsule linked up with the ISS and made the first step in history in having a privately owned company to send people into space.
Crucial parts of the journey went with problems, including the initial take-off and the manual controls, as they approached the ISS as well as the docking of the capsule.
Head of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Jim Bridenstine, said that the whole world was the audience of the historic launch. They shared their pride in all the efforts everyone involved has done to support the mission.
Bridenstine also said that the prospects of the event would give the people of the world something to be positive about amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying it will help them "look at the future and say things are going to be brighter."
According to the New York Times, Christopher Cassidy, a NASA astronaut, along with his team on the ISS, welcomed Behnken and Hurley as they arrived. Bridenstine addressed the pair in a welcoming ceremony and revealed to them everyone on Earth witnessed their journey and asked if they got any sleep during the 19-hour trip.
Behnken replied that they both got about seven hours of sleep, and he, in particular, was successful in getting some rest.
Not over yet
The mission itself will not be completed until Behnken and Hurley make their round trip back to Earth aboard Crew Dragon, aptly named "Endeavour," which was inspired by the decommissioned space shuttle that they flew on which made its last trip in May 2011.
Bridenstine shared in a news conference that the mission had gone as well as they could have hoped for.
NASA has revealed that these sorts of missions still face significant financial and technical challenges, including uncertainties about future corporate profits. The agency's current plans of getting humans back on the Moon are severely underfunded.
Behnken and Hurley's arrival on the ISS happened at around 1:00 p.m. Sunday after nearly three hours from docking of the capsule. The pair crawled through a hatch that connected the Crew Dragon with the station.
Elon Musk announced on Saturday that even with the safe docking of Crew Dragon, he is turning his attention towards the potential hazards of the capsule's re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
"We don't want to declare victory yet," said Musk to reporters as he was filled emotions of working for nearly 18 years to carry humans into space aboard its spacecraft successfully. He added that they have a duty to bring the pair back home safely.
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