SpaceX and NASA have created history in space exploration. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship finally took flight on Sunday from Cape Canaveral, with four astronauts to embark on a journey to the International Space Station (ISS). The team includes Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover of NASA, accompanied by Soichi Noguchi of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
“We’re honored to have you as our crew as we begin operational missions to the ISS. Have an amazing trip, and know that we are all for one,” said SpaceX’s mission controller Jay Aranha.
The mission was scheduled for Saturday but the weather forced the space agency to further delay the launch by 24 hours. This is SpaceX’s second flight with astronauts aboard, the first being an experimental one carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The latest Crew-1 mission is said to be docked at the ISS for six months which would also be another one for the record books. It will be the longest human spaceflight that took off from the US.
“We are ready for the six months of work that is waiting for us on board the International Space Station, and we are ready for the return,” said astronaut Mike Hopkins before the take-off.
NASA has invested around $3 billion in the Crew Dragon’s development and SpaceX engineers were responsible for the designing and testing as per the agency’s requirements. SpaceX has been in collaboration with NASA for resupply missions to ISS since 2012. SpaceX is also scheduled to launch two types of Dragon spacecraft seven times in the coming 14 months.
Besides, SpaceX is also working on its Starship launch. If everything goes according to Elon Musk’s plan, SpaceX will begin Starship launches by mid-2020s and will later colonize Mars by the 2030s. The space company also believes that the Starship project could drastically speed up international travel with flights at hypersonic speeds.
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