2 astronauts climb aboard SpaceX rocket for historic flight

Pablo Tucker
January 10, 2021

It was the first time in nearly a decade that humans had left the Earth from USA soil, and it was also the first joint mission between NASA and a private company.

SpaceX has become the first private company in history to launch astronauts into orbit, overcoming myriad industry, bureaucratic, technical, and weather hurdles to send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on their way to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft is scheduled to dock to the space station on Sunday at 10:27 a.m. Returning U.S. spaceflight capabilities also means NASA won't have to rely on Russia's Roscosmos and its Soyuz spacecraft exclusively to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) - could save more than $30 million per astronaut per trip as a result. Eastern Time. The spacecraft is created to do this autonomously, but the two astronauts and the station will be monitoring approach and docking, and can take control of the spacecraft if necessary. Crew Dragon will first take around 30 minutes to perform a manual control test, wherein Behnken and Hurley will take over and fly the spacecraft themselves.

The mission duration has not been announced yet.

The last time NASA launched astronauts into space aboard a brand new vehicle was 40 years ago at the start of the space shuttle program.

(1:22 MST) marking the first time in almost a decade that NASA astronauts have launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Today's launch kicks off a multi-week mission for Behnken and Hurley, which next involves a rendezvous with the ISS around 19 hours from now.

Hurley will be the spacecraft commander for the mission, responsible for activities such as launch, landing and recovery.

Despite more storms in the forecast, two NASA astronauts have climbed into their capsule for another attempt at a history-making ride into orbit aboard a rocket ship built by the SpaceX company.

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