Four years after Elon Musk began the project, and nine years after the last launch on American soil, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, and Musk’s SpaceX have sent two Americans into space with the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Centre.
The destination is the International Space Station, ISS. Since after 2011, Americans had been hitching rides to space on Russian “flights”.
Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley took off from Launch Complex 39A at 3:22pm (Eastern Time) on Saturday. That was exactly 8:22p.m., Saturday, in Nigerian.
‘Let´s light this candle,’ commander Hurley said just before liftoff.
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According to UKMail, there was a 50 percent chance Falcon 9 would not take off due to ominous clouds and lightning risks, but the weather cleared with just 45 minutes left on the clock countdown.
The mission is also the first time a private company has put astronauts into space and is the second attempt to launch after Wednesday’s flight was aborted because of Storm Bert.
It will take Falcon 9 nine minutes to reach orbit and then Crew Dragon will have a 19-hour journey to the International Space Station once it separates from the rocket.
The International Space Station was only accessible to NASA astronauts through the purchase of seats on Russian capsules launched from Kazakhstan— but that has all changed as of today.