For the first time in 9 years NASA and SpaceX have joined hands to launch Astronauts to Orbit from American soil. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are all set to launch to the International Space Station from Florida abroad a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on May 27.
This is an historical flight, as the last crewd US space craft which accessed orbiting laboratory was way back in 2011. We need to make sure that we keep [the space station] crewed,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a news conference held today (May 1). He further added, “That’s what commercial crew is all about. This is a new generation, a new era in human spaceflight”.
The work has been in progress since 2014, when NASA signed contracts with SpaceX and Boing and has spent billions to develop spaceships that can make six round trip to International Space Station. But the slow progress forced NASA to buy seats on Russian Soyuz rockets. But if the mission is accomplished NASA will have to no longer buy seats on Russian Soyuz to give it’s astronauts a ride on International Space Station.
“If you look globally, this will be the ninth time in history when we put humans on a brand new spacecraft,” said Bridenstine.
This is breakthrough moment, because the flight will take place amidst Coronavirus crisis. All the safety precautions are being taken to protect the Astronauts. “I think we’re really doing a great job to ensure that we are not impacting the safety or the health of the astronauts’ lives.” said Gwynne Shotwell, the Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX.
The mission is also a milestone for SpaceX the company founded by Elon Musk, who also founded TESLA. SpaceX is a firm that supplies Cargo to International Space Station and is a leader in private space sector.