On Saturday, a streak of fire cut through the skies of Florida, marking a successful launch of the SpaceX-NASA Crew Dragon Demo-2 aircraft, making history. Actually two. One- it ushered a new era of American spaceflight, of non-interdependence on Russia. And two, it is the first time in the history of the world a private agency took off from the earth towards space.
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, all clad in admirably sexy SpaceX spacesuits, with a cutie stuffed toy dinosaur took off for the space from Kennedy Space Center.
They head towards humanity’s only destiny on the Great Void, which is the International Space Station (ISS), where two other cosmonauts will be waiting for them. The two astronauts have been reportedly tested twice for coronavirus and were under self-quarantine before the launch.
The last rocket launched from the US-soil was the iconic Space Shuttle, and then comes Saturday’s NASA-SpaceX launch. The Elon Musk-led Space X is the only private mission to send astronauts in the orbit. According to media reports, since 2011’s space shuttle retirement, America relied on Russian rocket launches from Kazakhstan to send astronauts in space. But no longer.
Crew Dragon Demo-2 was all set to launch on Wednesday but unforeseen weather conditions delayed the launch. In a freaking explanation of why the launch was delayed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the lift-off could have triggered lightning reactions in the electrically-charged atmosphere. More freaking? He told the rocket itself could have become a bolt of lightning, USA Today reports.
The most recent update while writing this article is that the SpaceX designed Crew Dragon has separated from Falcon 9’s second stage and will reach the ISS. “Autonomous docking at the @Space_Station will occur at ~10:30 a.m. EDT tomorrow, May 3,” SpaceX tweets.
It takes an incredible amount of precision to lift off a rocket that will have to be on time so that it can dock with the ISS that orbits the earth at a speed of 17,000 mph and is located about 250 miles above Earth.
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(Cover image courtesy of Elon Musk via Twitter)