SpaceX has transported 4 astronauts in the orbit and they are on their way to the ISS (International Space Station). Two astronauts moved to the International Space Station on a SpaceX rocket in May and it was the final test before the full-fledged deployment. Now, it is the 2nd time SpaceX has sent astronauts into orbit. The recent launch finalizes an effort to provide the capability to the United States to transport people into space using its own platform once again. NASA has been forced to hire seats on Russian craft for its astronauts since the end of the Space Shuttle program. SpaceX’s rocket lifted off from Kennedy Space Center carrying 3 astronauts of NASA and one from Japan. The Dragon capsule (on top) was named Resilience by its crew because of many challenges during the current year.
SpaceX rocket reached orbit after 9 minutes of launch. Just before liftoff, Commander Mike Hopkins said, “By working together through these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation, the world, and in no small part the name of this incredible vehicle, Resilience”. He added, “That was one heck of a ride”. SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk was forced to monitor the action from afar. He tweeted that he most likely had a moderate case of COVID-19. Point to be noted that NASA policy at Kennedy Space Center requires anyone testing positive for coronavirus to quarantine and remain isolated. Sunday’s launch follows by just a few months SpaceX’s two-pilot test flight. NASA hopes there will be a long series of crew rotations between the U.S and the International Space Station, after years of delay.
Cheers and applause erupted at SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, after the capsule reached orbit and the first-stage booster landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic. NASA continued the safety precautions put in place for SpaceX’s crew launch in May amid widespread COVID-19. So, the astronauts went into quarantine with their families in October. All launch personnel wore masks and the number of guests at Kennedy was limited. The chairman of the National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence joined NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to watch the launch. He said, “I didn’t start breathing until about a minute after it took off”. The three-men, one-woman crew led by Hopkins (an Air Force colonel) named their capsule Resilience in a nod not only to the pandemic.