SpaceX Launches Astronauts into Space
Spacecraft “Resilience” returns Americans to Space hoping to provide new experiments, and a sense of hope to the U.S.
By Annika Henthorn
Originally intended for take-off Saturday night, the SpaceX launch due to rough weather conditions has been pushed back to Sunday night, the 15th, at 7:27 ET. The launch took place at the Florida Kennedy Space Center, according to CNN.
This mission follows a monumental launch that occurred in May. According to CNN, this launch was the first time astronauts went into orbit in a private spacecraft as well as it being the first time in a decade that astronauts have gone into space. CNN also revealed that although it was a historic moment, the trip was considered a "demonstration" mission and was flown by two veteran NASA astronauts and former military test pilots.” The four astronauts boarding the spacecraft have agreed to remain for six months on the space station that the capsule will be residing on. The residents will conduct research as well as maintain the space station’s integrity through regular repairs.
CNN describes The Dragon capsule as being 13 feet in diameter. Most of its commands are automatic, so the crew’s job primarily consists of ensuring that its controls are running smoothly. Once the Dragon is launched into the atmosphere, the capsule will separate and release its own thrusters to propel it towards the 20-year-old space station. CNN has also revealed that the astronauts have named the spacecraft the “Resilience” because of the turmoil this year has brought. The astronauts, specifically Hopkins, hopes that “it brings a smile to your face and we hope that it provides something positive to your life.”
Because of the Space Shuttle program retiring in 2011, the United States has not sent astronauts to or from the ISS, International Space Station, in a decade. The test mission in May was flown by Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, beginning a two-month test program on the ISS. The objective was primarily to gather data about the Dragon’s performance. With plenty of updates since this test mission, the Dragon spacecraft will be used to send astronauts to and from the ISS, allowing more staff to upkeep the ISS than ever before. This will propel the amount of scientific information collected because of the increase in available researchers.
CNN has also revealed that while the U.S has not sent astronauts up to the space station in a decade, Russia has. This is to help maintain the structure of the ISS, despite the US’s absence. The astronauts, currently on their way up, will spend, according to The New York Times, 27.5 hours in orbit before arriving at the ISS, which currently has three residents already there, Kate Rubins of NASA and two Russians, Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The New York Times has said that the jobs include experimentation and talking with students on the ground. They have even revealed that tests are being conducted about whether radishes or any produce at all can be grown in space.
This monumental moment can be enjoyed by all who choose to participate in its historic launch. Despite the troubles of 2020, this launch, in the eyes of the astronauts, is a glimmer of hope in these unprecedented times.
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Ryan Ford '23,