Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully launches spacecraft designed for astronauts — Crew Dragon

03 March, 2019, 02:53 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • NASA plans to put two astronauts aboard by the end of the year

The rocket blasted off without incident at 2:49 am from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, lighting up Florida's coastline.

Since the Space Shuttle was retired in 2011, NASA has been unable to fly people to space and has been forced to rely on Russian Federation to ferry its astronauts to the space station, the orbiting laboratory about 250 miles above the Earth. SpaceX needs to nail the debut of its crew Dragon capsule before putting people on board later this year.

If it is able to dock successfully, the spacecraft would remain attached to the station for five days.

"The Crew Dragon is a fundamental redesign, with hardly a part in common with Dragon", SpaceX founder Elon Musk said early Saturday morning, after the launch, during a news briefing. That's the main reason he founded SpaceX in 2002, the billionaire entrepreneur has said repeatedly over the years - to help humanity become a multiplanet species.

SpaceX has successfully launched an unmanned crew capsule named Crew Dragon into orbit around the Earth.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, its first spacecraft created to carry humans, took flight for the first time Saturday.

Crew Dragon launched to orbit for the first time ever this morning (March 2), kicking off an uncrewed, six-day demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS) known as Demo-1.


They both nodded. "Seeing a success like this, that really gives us a lot confidence in the future", said one of them, Bob Behnken.

It brings the nation one-step closer to the return of human launches to the space station from the United States for the first time since 2011 - the last space shuttle mission. We went to the moon and we won. NASA now pays $82 million per seat.

If successful, the mission launched on Saturday and the upcoming manned launch will allow NASA to certify the new spacecraft for regular flights to the space station.

It features four seats, three windows, touch-screen computer displays and life-support equipment, as well as eight abort engines to pull the capsule to safety in the event of a launch emergency.

"We instrumented the crap out of that vehicle", said Kathy Lueders, the manager of NASA's Commercial Crew program. Then it would disembark and fly back to Earth, where it would fall through the atmosphere, a big test for the spacecraft's heat shield and parachute system.

Early on Friday, Musk, who is also a chief executive officer of electric carmaker Tesla Inc, tweeted a photo of the inside of Crew Dragon capsule with a mannequin nicknamed Ripley strapped inside.

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