This is the first of six manned space missions that the SpaceX company will carry out in conjunction with NASA.
The private company SpaceX sent its first manned operational mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this Sunday, after successfully taking off at the appointed time from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a reusable Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule on the cusp.
At around 7:40 p.m. local time, the capsule, called Resilience, was finally in orbit towards the ISS with four astronauts inside, the Americans Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover, and the Japanese Soichi Noguchi.
After separating from the Falcon 9 rocket, part of the artifact successfully landed on a platform in the Atlantic.
Elon Musk’s signature intends to use that part of the rocket for the next mission in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to the ISS, which is scheduled to take place in March next year.
This is the first of six missions SpaceX will conduct to the ISS under a $2.6 billion contract signed with NASA in 2014.
The rocket finally managed to take off according to schedule, without setbacks and after a series of postponements from the scheduled date.
Falcon 9 should have taken off around 8:00 p.m. local time on Saturday, but both SpaceX and NASA postponed takeoff this Sunday due to bad weather caused by the tropical phenomenon Eta, which crossed northern Florida and left flooding in this state.
According to the mission managers, the weather conditions did not offer guarantees so that the platform that was to receive the Falcon 9 rocket in the Atlantic could reach its position.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
The Dragon capsule is the first privately owned and operated spacecraft to be certified by NASA for manned spaceflight, following the success of the Demo-2 test mission that with two astronauts on board took off last May to the ISS and returned to Earth without incident on August 2.
The start of these manned missions means for NASA the possibility of embarking on regular missions to the ISS , and even for its programs to the Moon and Mars, in association with private companies in charge of building and designing spacecraft and rockets, which will work like a kind of space “taxis”.
After taking off from the historic platform 39A at Cape Canaveral, the same one from the Apollo 11 mission that reached the moon in 1969, the Dragon capsule should arrive at the ISS at around 11:00 p.m. on Monday, a “space laboratory” in orbit about 400 kilometers above the Earth and this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary.
Upon arrival at the space station, and after a trip in which the capsule will reach a speed of 27 thousand kilometers per hour, the four astronauts will be received on the ISS by Kate Rubins, from NASA, and the Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and they will stay there for six months.
Days earlier, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pointed out that the ultimate goal of missions like Crew-1 is “to have more resources to do things for which there is still no commercial market, such as going to the Moon and to Mars under the Artemis program”.
Now that the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft is safely in orbit, watch continuous coverage of the crew’s journey to the @Space_Station at https://t.co/mzKW5uV4hS and join us at 9pm ET for Crew-1 mission updates. #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/0wux3kXtRq
— NASA (@NASA) November 16, 2020