SpaceX launch kicks off new era for human spaceflight

SpaceX launch kicks off new era for human spaceflight

SpaceX launch kicks off new era for human spaceflight

From there, Dragon will ferry Behnken and Hurley to the International Space Station - the first time American astronauts have flown from USA soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

With Behnken and Hurley strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule, the launch pad platform retracted and rocket fueling underway, SpaceX and NASA made the call to abort.

The journey to the International Space Station will take Hurley and Behnken 19 hours.

NASA astronauts will try again to blast off to the International Space Station Saturday afternoon, after inclement weather scrubbed a launch Wednesday.

The launch pad is the same one used by Nasa's final space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley in 2011.

By 2012, it had become the first private company to dock a cargo capsule at the ISS, resupplying the station regularly ever since. But as the world celebrated the historic partnership between NASA and SpaceX, many Flat Earth believers took to social media to challenge the launch footage streamed online.

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Behnken and Hurley inside the Crew Dragon this past Wednesday, prior to the postponement.

When the rocket reached their initial orbit after nine minutes, part of the rocket returned to earth to be reused. If successful, it would also mark the first time commercially developed space vehicles, owned and operated by a private entity rather than Nasa, have carried Americans into orbit.

Congratulating Musk, NASA and the astronauts, Trump described the launch day as a great day for the country.

"There was simply too much electricity in the atmosphere", explained NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine at a press conference after the launch was postponed.

The NASA astronauts will remain on the space station for up to four months before returning to Earth.

"The launch of this commercial space system designed for humans is a phenomenal demonstration of American excellence and is an important step on our path to expand human exploration to the Moon and Mars", he said in a statement post-launch.

By NASA's count, over 3 million viewers tuned in online.

Inside Kennedy Space Center, attendance was strictly limited because of the coronavirus, and the small crowd of a few thousand was a shadow of what it would have been without the threat of COVID-19. In that case, NASA and SpaceX have reserved two back-up dates: May 31 at 12 p.m. PT and June 2, with the time yet to be determined.

Image Source: John Raoux/AP/Shutterstock10-year-old Jack Hurley waves at his dad, NASA astronaut Douglas Hurley, as Hurley and fellow astronaut Robert Behnken depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center. In preparation for Wednesday's flight, SpaceX sent up a Dragon capsule with only a test dummy aboard a year ago, and it docked smoothly at the orbiting outpost on autopilot, then returned to Earth in a splashdown.

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