Nasa and SpaceX on Sunday launched four astronauts on a Tesla-manufactured Falcon 9 flight to send them to the International Space Station (ISS) marking the space administration’s first mission where it sent astronauts on a full-fledged mission aboard a privately owned spacecraft.
The spacecraft will take US Air Force colonel Mike Hopkins, physicist Shannon Walker, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and navy commander and rookie astronaut Victor Glover, who is going to be the first Black astronaut to spend full five to six months aboard the ISS, to the International Space Station via the Falcon9 spacecraft.
The families of the astronauts present at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida greeted the astronauts and waved them goodbye as they prepared for takeoff. Due to Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s absence due to Covid-19, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell joined Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine ahead of the takeoff.
The crew has named the capsule Resilience in a bid to highlight the challenges the year 2020 has faced so far. The liftoff is scheduled at 5:57 am which has brought a lot of spectators to the towns next to Cape Canaveral.
The astronauts conducted all tests and the spacecraft was checked ahead of the liftoff, according to a series of tweets shared by Nasa ahead of the liftoff. SpaceX’s first regular space flight which is set to take off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is a reusable rocket named Falcon 9 developed and built by SpaceX.
Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine had told reporters that this mission means that there can now be operational flights to the International Space Station. He said, “The history being made this time is we’re launching what we call an operational flight to the International Space Station.”
Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk was not able to attend the event as he said on Saturday that he has developed a moderate case of Covid-19. He tweeted, “Am getting wildly different results from different labs, but most likely I have a moderate case of covid. My symptoms are that of a minor cold, which is no surprise, since a coronavirus is a type of cold.”
US vice president Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence are also expected at the event.
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