The US may have moved one step closer to weaning itself off its reliance on Russian Federation to get astronauts into space as SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule has embarked on its first test mission to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX rocket with a newly designed unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk's space company and NASA's long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from USA soil later this year.
SpaceX's first crewed mission, which will fly NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, could happen by July, according to NASA's most recent schedule. We went to the moon and we won.
SpaceX's live stream starts from 12am on March 1 and cycles through preparation stages and launch before the capsule goes into orbit.
While Saturday's SpaceX test mission is a crucial step in the oft-delayed project, there are questions about whether NASA can achieve its 2019 flight goal of manned flight.
SpaceX launched its unmanned module from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 7.48am GMT (2.48am EST). No private company has ever launched humans into orbit, and during a webcast of the launch, SpaceX employees could be seen packed into the main foyer of the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., cheering each milestone.
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The trio also made an appearance on the Elvis Duran Show on Friday, where they said they have 30 to 40 new songs already recorded. The band and their leading ladies don colorful, elaborate outfits as the celebrity family parties around a castle setting.
From launch to splash landing, the mission is full of critical "firsts" for NASA's Commercial Crew program. "We're pretty good at throwing things into space".
The mission, called Demonstration-1 or DM-1, is meant to show NASA that Crew Dragon is safe for future human crew members.
Speaking of the Atlantic, the reusable Falcon 9 booster that launched Crew Dragon successfully landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship drifting along in said ocean, approximately 10 minutes after liftoff.
Boeing is also in the race to end NASA's eight-year drought of launching USA astronauts on US rockets from USA soil.
"We're going to take it day by day", Bridenstine said of the timeline. But he stressed it was more important to move deliberately so "we get it right". Musk said the redesigned capsule has "hardly a part in common" with its predecessor.
At Saturday's post-launch news conference, Musk said he'd be happy to fly on the revamped Dragon.
Despite SpaceX's success at recovering and reusing its rockets, NASA is insisting on brand new boosters from SpaceX for the crew capsule flights. "And then re-entry", Musk said at a press conference, held in the Kennedy Space Center, when asked which stages of the Dragon 2 mission he anxious about most.