SpaceX Successfully Launches Historic Mission To International Space Station
SpaceX has successfully launched four people into space for NASA.
The crew are part of a six-month-long journey to the International Space Station (ISS), which saw them take off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, yesterday, November 15, at 7.27pm EST.
The four astronauts, known as Crew-1, were NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, in addition to Japan’s Soichi Noguchi.
Crew-1 are the first of six planned operational missions to the ISS for NASA. The missions are designed to take four astronauts per trip for long-duration stays at the ISS.
This will mark Glover’s first flight, making him the first African American to take part in a long-duration mission on the ISS, reported Forbes.
The four astronauts will remain on the ISS for 180 days, meaning they won’t return to Earth until June 2021. Crew-1 will be joining NASA’s Kate Rubins and Russia’s Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, who arrived at the station on October 14.
Seven minutes after launching, it was confirmed the space craft – named ‘Resilience’ – had successfully separated from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The craft has been named ‘Resilience’ as away of recognising the struggles the world has faced over the course of 2020.
Following its success, President-elect Joe Biden congratulated the team on Twitter.
He wrote, ‘Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s launch. It’s a testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination. I join all Americans and the people of Japan in wishing the astronauts Godspeed on their journey.’
While this is the second time Elon Musk’s SpaceX has sent a team into orbit with its Dragon capsule, yesterday marked the first operational flight for NASA. The first crewed flight took place in May, when SpaceX sent two astronauts on a trial run to the ISS.
NASA is now allowing commercial flights to taking astronauts to the ISS instead of government-funded spacecraft. SpaceX was granted a whopping $3.1 billion in funding to create Crew Dragon.
That’s not the only funding SpaceX have received from NASA recently. Last month, the tech firm were announced to be part of NASA’s Tipping Point programme, which will see the agency negotiate with the companies chosen to take part to ‘issue milestone-based firm-fixed price contracts lasting for up to five years’.
Several companies were chosen, with SpaceX receiving one of the highest grants of $53.2 million. The likes of Nokia will be given $14.1 million to exchange for developing a 4G network on the Moon.
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