NASA is looking forward to the future of human spaceflight after the first crewed mission aboard the SpaceX rocket circled back to Earth, completing the mission. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley has safely landed back on Earth, or specifically, slashed down in the Gulf of Mexico.
The touchdown marks the historic completion of the Demo-2 test flight to and from the International Space Station. “Today was a great victory, but it was just the beginning,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We are going to be a customer – one customer of many customers in a very robust commercial marketplace for human spaceflight to low-Earth orbit,” he added.
Looking back, the Demo-2 mission took flight on May 30 marking the first orbital crewed mission to liftoff from the US since 2011. The SpaceX Falcon 9 with the Crew Dragon capsule lifted off carrying two NASA astronauts to ISS, creating a “new era of human spaceflight”.
“Thanks for flying @SpaceX.”
📍 Current Location: Planet Earth
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
With the completion of the Demo-2 mission, SpaceX can now fully work on its first operational mission, the four-person Crew-1. The mission is scheduled for liftoff in September. Before this, NASA will be running a complete analysis of the Demo-2 data. If no red flags turn up, they’re good to go. From the looks of it, red flags are quite unlikely, considering how well the test flight was carried out.
What’s Next For SpaceX?
SpaceX has been sweeping the headlines lately. For one, the SpaceX Starlink project is well set to begin streaming internet service to users in North America. SpaceX will soon begin shipping the necessary equipment to set up the internet service for Starlink customers.
Apart from this, plenty of other companies are hiring SpaceX to boost space tourism. NASA isn’t the only customer, another US-based company Axiom Space has also booked a trip to the space station with the capsule, scheduled to liftoff sometime next year. As space tourism gets a boost, it seems like SpaceX is going to be quite busy.
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