Elon Musk’s SpaceX program successfully launched four astronauts into space in mid-November, marking the second time the private company has served as a shuttle for NASA. The Falcon rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center with three American astronauts and one Japanese astronaut, each ready to man the International Space Station. The crew is definitely diverse and includes the first Black astronaut on a long-term space station mission, Navy Commander Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker.
The capsule the astronauts traveled in, called Resilience, reached orbit in just nine minutes. After the short trip, the astronauts plan to remain aboard the ISS until spring 2021.
Commander Mike Hopkins told the crew, right before liftoff, “By working together through these difficult times, you’ve inspired the nation, the world, and in no small part the name of this incredible vehicle, Resilience.”
The crew, who had been quarantined with their families since October to prevent the spread of coronavirus in space, took several precautions – as did everyone involved in the launch. SpaceX’s founder, Elon Musk, tweeted that he likely had a mild case of coronavirus immediately prior to the launch. NASA’s policy at Kennedy Space Center requires anyone who tests positive to quarantine in isolation until it’s safe for them to return to work.
NASA hopes there will be several crew rotations in partnership with SpaceX in the future.
What Do You Think?
Do you keep up with the ISS and crewmembers aboard it? Have you ever looked for it in the night sky or seen a livestream from it? I’d love to hear what you have to say about the International Space Station, SpaceX or even Elon Musk, so share your thoughts with me on Facebook or Twitter.