Nasa and SpaceX on Sunday launched four astronauts on a Tesla-manufactured Falcon 9 flight to send them to the International Space Station (ISS) marking the space administration’s first mission where it sent astronauts on a full-fledged mission aboard a privately-owned spacecraft.
The spacecraft will take the team consisting of astronauts Mike Hopkins, a US Air Force colonel, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, physicist Shannon Walker along with navy commander and rookie astronaut Victor Glover (who is the first Black astronaut to spend full six months aboard the space station) to the International Space Station.
US President-elect Joe Biden hailed the launch on Twitter as a "testament to the power of science and what we can accomplish by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity, and determination," while President Donald Trump called it "great."
Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the launch with his wife Karen, called it a "new era in human space exploration in America."
In a bid to highlight the challenges the year 2020 has faced, the crew has been named the capsule Resilience. The liftoff was scheduled at 5:57 am which has brought a lot of spectators to the towns next to Cape Canaveral.
According to a series of tweets shared by Nasa, the astronauts conducted all tests and the spacecraft was checked ahead of the liftoff.
SpaceX’s first regular space flight which is set to take off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is a reusable rocket named Falcon 9 developed and built by SpaceX.
Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine had told reporters that this mission means that there can now be operational flights to the International Space Station. He said, “The history being made this time is we’re launching what we call an operational flight to the International Space Station.”
Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk was not able to attend the event as he said on Saturday that he has developed a moderate case of Covid-19. He tweeted, “Am getting wildly different results from different labs, but most likely I have a moderate case of covid. My symptoms are that of a minor cold, which is no surprise, since a coronavirus is a type of cold.”