Four astronauts launched into orbit yesterday in the historic first operational flight for the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA’s commercial crew mission. This marks the second-ever crewed mission for Elon Musk’s private space-faring firm SpaceX, after the successful launch and return of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley with the Demo-2 mission this summer. It is also the culmination of years of collaboration between NASA and the private sector as part of an effort to bring launch capabilities back to U.S. soil and end a dependency on Russia for trips to the International Space Station. The launch occurred at 7:27pm ET yesterday from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, after being pushed back — first to assess an engine issue with the Falcon 9 rocket and then once more due to weather. The crew for the historic launch includes a Space Force colonel, a Black pilot leaving Earth for the first time, a woman who has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space and a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, are set to stay on the ISS for six months and help with maintenance and research.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 16, 2020
If there is an emergency at any point on the pad or during ascent, Crew Dragon is able to carry astronauts to safety pic.twitter.com/S8KQzwB0Z4
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
Photo Credit: SpaceX