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Elon Musk’s SpaceX launches Crew-1 mission to begin new era for NASA


A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule, is launched carrying four astronauts on the first operational NASA commercial crew mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. November 15, 2020.

Thom Baur | Reuters

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket crackled through the sky Sunday evening, carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” to orbit and marking the beginning of a new era of human spaceflight for NASA.

The Crew-1 mission features the first SpaceX launch with a full crew, as NASA this week certified Elon Musk’s venture as the first private company with an operational system to launch astronauts to-and-from space. It’s a historic milestone for SpaceX, coming after years of work to develop and test its spacecraft to fly people regularly to orbit.

“Resilience rises; not even gravity contains humanity when we explore as one for all,” NASA public affairs officer Marie Lewis said as the rocket left the launchpad.

Crew-1 also comes less than six months after the company’s historic final demonstration mission, which launched a pair of astronauts on a test flight in May and represented the company’s first launch with people on board.

NASA astronauts (right to left) Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi in their SpaceX spacesuits during Crew-1 pre-launch preparations.

NASA

Crew Dragon Resilience is carrying NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The astronauts are headed for the International Space Station, expected to dock with the space station on Monday evening.

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