Back in May 31st, the world gawked at the digital displays watching America soar up in the sky toward the International Space Station in a landmark mission. It was the first time the nation was fully, and independently leaving earth for space.
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley took-off from Earth toward the International Space Station (IST) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Elon Musk’s SpaceX spacecraft Crew Dragon ‘Endeavour”, which was the first private partnership of NASA that successfully launched and ferried human crew in space.
After spending 62 days in the IST, Behnken and Hurley splashed back on Earth at the Gulf Of Mexico on Sunday after making history.
The astronaut duo started from the IST on Saturday and following a 21-hours long journey through the void, they touched waters off Florida’s Pensacola coast at 2:48 p.m. ET, according to a NASA statement.
“This has been quite an odyssey. To be where we are now, the first crewed flight of Dragon is just unbelievable,” Hurley told senior SpaceX and NASA officials at a welcoming ceremony in Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private player in NASA’s long history of private partnerships with American aviation firms, notably Boeing, which the space agency has signalled for preference.
By successfully launching human crew into space, Musk’s company outperformed the peers in rigorous pre-tests, according to media reports.
“This day heralds a new age of space exploration,” Musk said. “I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”
“It’s a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together to do something once thought impossible,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
“Partners are key to how we go farther than ever before and take the next steps on daring missions to the Moon and Mars.”
The two astronauts, in the IST, participated in a number of scientific experiments, and spacewalks during their stay in the only destination of mankind in the space.
The US has for long relied on foreign missions to send a crew in space, util SpaceX successfully completed a round trip.