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NASA and SpaceX launch first astronauts into space from US soil in nearly a…

by ace
NASA and SpaceX launch first astronauts into space from US soil in nearly a...

NASA and SpaceX successfully launched astronauts from American soil for the first time in almost a decade.

Douglas Hurley and Robert Behken will now orbit the Earth for approximately 19 hours before landing at the International Space Station (ISS) at 3:29 pm on Sunday.

The pair was accelerated to approximately 17,000 mph (27,000 km / h) – 22 times the speed of sound – and placed on an ISS interception course.

Image:
Bob Behnken (right) and Doug Hurley before boarding the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

The launch, called Demo-2, was the first manned mission by Elon Musk's space company, SpaceX – and the first private involvement in taking astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX's part of the mission will last until the astronauts safely return home sometime between late June and September.

If the Crew Dragon capsule works as expected when diving into the Atlantic, NASA will fully certify the company for manned launches.

It was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but that launch was delayed just minutes before takeoff due to lightning strikes.

Fortunately for fans of the space, Saturday's launch went smoothly, with the weather becoming clearer as the day grew.

President Donald Trump flew to Florida to watch the launch – the first president to watch NASA takeoff since Bill Clinton.

(LR) Karen Pence, US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump attend SpaceX's launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020. - Trump traveled to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to watch the launch of the manned SpaceX Mission Demo-2 to the International Space Station. Comments are the sole responsibility of their authors and do not represent the opinion of this site.
Image:
Donald Trump is the first president to attend a launch since Bill Clinton

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully landed on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean, minutes after taking the astronauts into orbit.

The United States has not been able to launch astronauts from its own ground since July 8, 2011, when the space shuttle program was withdrawn.

Bob Behken and Doug Hurley will now join the three current ISS residents, Chris Cassidy of NASA and Anatoli Ivanishin of Russia and Ivan Vagner, all launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by the Russian space agency.

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