SpaceX Launches Its First Crew to Orbit

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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are on their way to the International Space Station. 

Elon Musk needed nearly two decades to see his dream come true. His space company successfully launched its first crew to orbit. Here are the latest details.

SpaceX’s Successful Launch Welcomes a New Era of Spaceflight

SpaceX successfully sent two people into orbit, welcoming a new era of human spaceflight in the US. The flight marked the first time US astronauts have launched into orbit from American soil in almost a decade. SpaceX became the first company to send astronauts to orbit on a privately developed spacecraft. 

The two US astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley traveled to space inside SpaceX’s latest automated vehicle dubbed the Crew Dragon. The capsule was developed to take two astronauts to and from the ISS. 

Strapped inside the gumdrop-shaped, smooth capsule, the crew launched on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s historic Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 PM ET on May 30. The rocket left the Crew Dragon off in orbit in approximately 12 minutes. The astronauts will spend the next day (May 31) in orbit before trying to dock with the ISS on the same day. 

The launch is a crucial moment for SpaceX, a company made by Musk to send humans into space and develop settlements on Mars. It’s also the last big test for SpaceX as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. With such initiative, NASA assigned two companies, SpaceX and Boeing, to create new spacecraft that could frequently transport astronauts to and from the ISS. 

SpaceX succeeded in launching humans after nearly six years of development and testing on the Crew Dragon. Today’s mission (May 30) is the company’s final test flight for that program, meant to decide if the Crew Dragon is ready to begin frequently transporting NASA astronauts to the ISS in the coming years. 

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