Billionaire Elon Musk became the first entrepreneur in history to launch a ship with people on board in low Earth orbit. His company SpaceX, on the second attempt, made the first manned launch from the United States in nine years, sending astronauts to the International Space Station.
SpaceX, founded by billionaire Ilon Musk, first sent American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on a private spacecraft, Crew Dragon. The broadcast of this event was conducted by NASA and the SpaceX website.
Weather is currently good for launch, but teams are still concerned about looming storm clouds, rain and lightning — the kind that delayed Wednesday’s launch attempt. Some clouds creeping up right now inching toward 39A: pic.twitter.com/ZquYeIQPjH
— Joey Roulette (@joroulette) May 30, 2020
The Crew Dragon-built ship with the Falcon 9 booster rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle split off 2.5 minutes after launch and soon landed on the Of Course I Still Love You floating platform. After 12 minutes, the second stage separated, after which the Crew Dragon entered orbit. The journey of Crew Dragon to the ISS will last 19 hours.
Start took place on the second attempt. The first launch was scheduled for May 27 but was canceled due to adverse weather conditions. On Saturday, there was also a risk that the launch would not take place – a couple of hours before the start, it started to rain on the site, and NASA head Jim Bidenstein estimated the probability of cancellation due to weather conditions at 50%.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
The successful launch and delivery of astronauts to the ISS will advance SpaceX and the United States into a new era of commercial space exploration, writes The Wall Street Journal. This is so far the only mission in history to deliver people to Earth orbit, which is carried out on a private spacecraft. Onboard the Crew Dragon are NASA astronauts Bob Benken and Doug Harley already in space. They perform the first manned orbital flight in nine years from the United States.
Until now, SpaceX, founded in 2002, delivered only cargo to space. The successful launch of Crew Dragon with astronauts on board will put an end to nine years of US dependence on Russian Unions, where Americans were delivered to the ISS after the closure of the Space Shuttle program, Bloomberg wrote. The launch and the mission itself sum up ten years of SpaceX funding from the US space agency: the company received $ 2.6 billion from NASA to develop Crew Dragon. Since 2011, the agency has paid Russia for space for astronauts on Soyuz spacecraft.
All systems go for Crew Dragon’s test flight with @NASA astronauts @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug. Teams are keeping an eye on weather. Webcast will go live at ~11:00 a.m. EDT → https://t.co/bJFjLCilmc pic.twitter.com/AXDGNfqv0K
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
In May, it became known that NASA would pay more than $90 million for additional space on a Russian ship during the fall launch to the ISS. At the same time, according to the estimates of the space agency, one place in Crew Dragon will cost less than $ 60 million. The contract concluded between SpaceX and NASA provides for the implementation of several more missions to deliver people to space.
On Wednesday, even before the first launch attempt was canceled, Musk said the mission was “the culmination of a dream.” “This is a dream that has come true. In fact, it seems surreal, – said the billionaire. – If I were asked at the time when I created SpaceX whether this would happen, I would answer: the probability is 1%. Even 0.1%”.