SpaceX launched its Crew Dragon capsule into space for the first time. This was a test flight to test the safety of the capsule which is scheduled to carry humans to the International Space Station in July.
The test flight called Demo 1 was launched from NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] Kennedy Space Center in Florida loaded on a Falcon 9 rocket. The capsule is expected to reach International Space Station at 6.00 a.m. EST on March 3. This test flight is to show NASA that the Crew Dragon capsule is safe for future manned missions to International Space Station.
LIFTOFF! The next big leap in a new chapter of U.S. human spaceflight systems has left the pad. @SpaceX’s #CrewDragon demo flight will be the 1st commercially-built & operated American spacecraft designed for humans to dock at the @Space_Station. Watch: https://t.co/Fm5NQSfAXJ pic.twitter.com/YoiOf67kQL
— NASA (@NASA) March 2, 2019
There is a dummy named Ripley aboard the test flight. Ripley was named after the protagonist in the 1979 movie “alien”. Ripley is equipped with sensors to chart the progress of the journey to and from the Internation Space Station. There are about 400 pounds supplied and equipment which is being transported to Space station.
This is the first test flight for SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Program headed by NASA. Demo 2 the first manned flight is set to take off in July.
“Today’s successful launch marks a new chapter in American excellence, getting us closer to once again flying American Astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine after the launch.
“This first launch of a space system designed for humans built and operated by a commercial company through a public-private partnership is a revolutionary step on our path to get humans to the Moon, Mars and beyond,” she added.
The Crew Dragon capsule was built to revive the American manned space exploration program shut down in 2011. In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump ordered NASA to revive the program promising that “America will once again reach for the moon”. The mission aims to send American astronauts to the moon for long-term exploration. It also plans an eventual mission to Mars.
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