It’s a great day for science and space enthusiasts as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully left Earth on May 30 for the International Space Station. In a report by space.com, aboard the rocket are two NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who will then pilot spacecraft Crew Dragon set to dock at the ISS. The mission is officially called Demo-2 and the flight will take about 19 hours total to get to the ISS. This marks the first successful commercial rocket launch with a human crew on board, and the first space travel after almost a decade since the STS-135 was launched back in July 2011.
The company responsible for the historic launch is SpaceX, owned by engineer and tech mogul Elon Musk. Prior to the launch on May 30, SpaceX was the first private-owned company to send unmanned cargo to the ISS back in 2012. Since then it has been Musk’s dream to send people to space aboard his rockets and spacecrafts. The ship used for this particular launch, Crew Dragon, is also revolutionary as it is the first craft that uses fully touch-screen controls to pilot it. The first test mission of Crew Dragon was back in March 2019, but with no astronauts and just a mannequin dummy called Ripley.
Musk shared his joy on space.com,"I'm really quite overcome with emotion on this day, so it's kind of hard to talk, frankly. It's been 18 years working towards this goal, so it's hard to believe that it's happened." If the Demo-2 mission runs smoothly, SpaceX plans to send another manned rocket to the ISS as early as August this year. The crew will be composed of operational astronauts for the ISS: three from NASA and one from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Watch the historic launch on NASA YouTube channel below: