During the weekend, SpaceX made history by successfully launching its first operational flight with four astronauts in the commercially developed Crew Dragon. The launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday marked the beginning of a 27-hour journey to the International Space Station (ISS). It was also SpaceX̵
The crew is manned by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The rocket will dock at the space station at midnight EST on Nov. 16. If everything goes smoothly, the flight will also be completed autonomously, without the crew having to touch the Crew Dragon’s touchscreens.
The Crew-1 mission marks a decade of work between SpaceX and NASA, and their goal to build a spaceship that can bring humans safely to the ISS and back to Earth. It also marks another huge milestone for NASA: to provide astronauts with an independent means of launch from the United States rather than from Kazakhstan. It’s a big win, given the space shuttle’s 2011 retirement. NASA will still work with Russia to preserve the ISS, but now SpaceX represents a second option to put humans in space.
Yesterday’s manned launch was not the first from SpaceXhowever. It sent two astronauts to the International Space Station in May and was the first private company to put astronauts into orbit. SpaceX is also focused on commercial spaceflight, and the Crew Dragon spaceship is slated to take actor Tom Cruise on a commercial mission in about a year.
through Ars Technica