Millions of people watched breathlessly as astronauts for the first time successfully travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) in a privately funded spacecraft, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, on May 30. The historic launch, which marks a new chapter in human spaceflight, is likely to lead to renewed interest in spaceflight.
On May 30, 2020, millions of Americans watched the inaugural SpaceX Crew Dragon launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. This mission marked two significant events: First, the return of launch to orbit capability for human spaceflight from the United States. Secondly, it successfully demonstrated private sector capability to build and operate a launch vehicle for human spaceflight.
As hard as it seems to overwhelmed the exciting first private launch of humans from Earth and the successful docking with the International Space Station, there was actually a bigger story in tech in the last week.
Two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, will make history by travelling to the International Space Station in a privately funded spacecraft, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule. But the launch, which was due to take place on May 27, has been aborted due to bad weather, and will instead take place on May 30 at 3:22 pm EDT.
Private space company SpaceX is about to do something for the first time. This week the company launches its first human passengers into space, a major test for the Elon Musk-backed outfit and a stepping stone on its route to Mars.
Human spaceflight is incredibly difficult and expensive; the rockets must be reliable and the vehicle must be built with expensive life support systems and a certain level of redundancy. To date, only three countries – Russia, the United States and China – have achieved this feat.
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With dreams of Mars on the minds of both NASA and Elon Musk, long-distance crewed missions through space are coming. But you might be surprised to learn that modern rockets don’t go all that much faster than the rockets of the past.