America's newest crew capsule launches into space

SpaceX and NASA launched a spacecraft in the early morning hours of Saturday capable of carrying astronauts again from U.S. soil.

No astronauts were on the test flight for the SpaceX vehicle called Crew Dragon, which lit up the night sky after lifting off at 2:49 a.m. EST on Saturday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The successful launch was hailed by NASA officials as the first step toward a renewed period of American space exploration. The capsule was slated to reach the International Space Station on Sunday.


“Today’s successful launch marks a new chapter in American excellence, getting us closer to once again flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement Saturday.

“I proudly congratulate the SpaceX and NASA teams for this major milestone in our nation’s space history. This first launch of a space system designed for humans, and built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership, is a revolutionary step on our path to get humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

SpaceX said that the vehicle would deliver about 400 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station, along with other test materials. NASA said it would also "return some critical research samples to Earth."

Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, has said the company is focused on sending people to space and eventually Mars.

"It has been 17 years to get to this point, 2002 to now, and an incredible amount of hard work and sacrifice from a lot of people that got us to this point," Musk said of the rocket's launch Saturday.

“It's super stressful,” he added of Crew Dragon, according to The New York Times. “But it worked. So far.”

The U.S. has been paying for rides on Russian spacecraft to the International Space Station since the retiring of American space shuttle missions in 2011.

It awarded contracts to SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop commercial systems to transport crews into space.
Powered by Blogger.