On Saturday, May 30, Two veteran NASA astronauts, rocketed away from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin a test flight of a new commercial spaceship designed, built, and owned by the US private company “SpaceX”.
The flight was originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, but due to adverse weather conditions, it was postponed to Saturday, May 30. Similar like on Wednesday, the weather on Saturday caused problems. The probability that the flight would take place shortly before the flight was 50 to 50.
But a wave of showers and thunderstorms pushed through the spaceport and skies cleared sufficiently to allow the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule to take off at Saturday’s instantaneous launch opportunity, a one-second window determined by the location of the space station’s orbital track.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22:45 p.m. EDT (1922:45 GMT) Saturday.
Nine minutes later, the astronauts were in orbit, ending a nearly decade-long gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability that forced NASA to pay the Russian space agency for rides to the space station on Soyuz spaceships.
US President Donald Trump watched the event from the Kennedy Space Center. He described the launch of SpaceX as: “It is unbelievable.”
The astronauts are expected to reach their destination in about 19 hours. They will use this time to test the systems on the missile, including manual flight. They will also need to sleep after a long day. On Earth, astronauts will return in one to four months.
Ever since the space shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time on July 21, 2011, every astronaut bound for the orbital outpost has hitched a ride on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Now, the nearly nine-year hiatus is coming to a close.