Venture Capital: SpaceX Launches A Full Crew Into Orbit In Historic Milestone
Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a crew of four astronauts into space on Sunday.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, “Resilience,” took off from Florida on Sunday on its Crew-1 mission to transport NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the International Space Station. (NASA)
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program
It was a successful launch of the first NASA-certified commercial human spacecraft system in history. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket hoisted the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the crew of four flawlessly into orbit.
“I could not be more proud of the work we’ve done here today,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. “Falcon 9 looked great, Dragon was dropped off into a beautiful orbit about 12 minutes into the mission, and we’ll get more data as we go.”
The launch into orbit marked the commencement of a six-month mission onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Resilience will dock autonomously to the forward port of ISS’s Harmony module on Monday, November 16, at 11 p.m. Eastern.
“Watching this mission launch is a special moment for NASA and our SpaceX team,” said Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “We are looking forward to getting this crew to station to continue our important work, and I want to thank the teams for the amazing effort to make the next generation of human space transportation possible.”
The event made it into the history books because it was the first flight of the NASA-certified commercial system designed for crew transportation.
So far in the development phase, the system is now ready for regular commercial flights. Appropriately, it was also the first time that the Federal Aviation Administration licensed a human orbital spaceflight launch.
On the ISS
It will be the longest human space mission launched from the U.S.
The astronauts will spend six months aboard the ISS conducting work on science and research investigations, and maintenance.
They also will conduct several spacewalks. They will welcome aboard the crews of the Russian Soyuz vehicle and the next SpaceX Crew Dragon in 2021.
At the end of the mission, the Crew-1 astronauts will re-enter the Crew Dragon spacecraft. It will then autonomously undock and leave for Earth.
“NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is delivering on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry,” said NASA. “This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities.”
NASA also said the mission was a precursor to future missions to the Moon and later, Mars.
The successful launch is a feather in the cap for Elon Musk’s SpaceX startup.
Last month, analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) revised their long term estimate of the company to $100 billion.
Feature Image: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA)
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