On Sunday evening, SpaceX successfully launched four astronauts to the International Space Station atop their Falcon 9 rocket. The launch marked the first taxi flight for NASA by a private company and comes only a few months after SpaceX’s successful two-pilot test flight in May.
Strapped into a Crew Dragon capsule called “Resilience,” the four-person crew was made up of commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. After scrapping the flight on Saturday due to bad weather, they found a window on Sunday evening that would work. At 7:27 p.m., the engines ignited and produced 1.7 million pounds of thrust––launching the 229-foot rocket into the sky. Less than nine minutes later, Hopkins and crewmates had reached preliminary orbit.
“That was one heck of a ride,” radioed Hopkins after reaching orbit.
SpaceX also managed to successfully recover the first stage booster rocket, which they plan to refurbish and reuse for a future launch. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock at the International Space Station on Monday at 11 p.m..
The four astronauts will be joining two Russians and one American at the Space Station––a trio who arrived last month after launching from Kazakhstan. Over the next 15 months, SpaceX is expecting to fly approximately seven Dragon missions for NASA––both crew and cargo.
To see historic launch for yourself, check out the video above.
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