SpaceX Crew Demo-1 lifts off on historic mission

Theresa Obrien
March 4, 2019

While Falcon 9's have completed many successful lift-offs, today's was special because it is the first outing for SpaceX's new Crew Dragon module, created to take astronauts into orbit. "It was super stressful. But it worked, so far".

Musk's company has already made several supply runs to the orbiting lab for NASA.

The first two post-launch milestones for Crew Dragon were successfully completed shortly separating from Falcon 9's second stage, as confirmed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk during a post-launch press conference Saturday morning.

"Every mission is important, but this is even more important, said Koenigsmann, the firm's vice-president for build and flight reliability".

"It's been 17 years, we still haven't launched anyone yet, but hopefully we will later this year". "I'm actually humbled at being at this point".

"They wanted us to take some steps where we would protect the space station, close another hatch or two, and have the crew ready to go in the Soyuz", said NASA's deputy ISS manager Joel Montalbano, referring to the Soyuz crew capsule that would allow cosmonauts to make an emergency exit if things went haywire.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A SpaceX rocket with an unmanned crew capsule blasted off on Saturday for the International Space Station, in a key milestone for Elon Musk's space company and NASA's long-delayed goal to resume human spaceflight from United States soil later this year.

This is the first time for the U.S.to use a commercial spacecraft for its manned space mission. Although, we view it also as a real mission, a very critical mission.

The Demo-1 mission marks the first flight of the new and improved Dragon 2 spacecraft, which is longer and more massive than its Dragon 1 predecessor.

Dragon 2 will be the first SpaceX vehicle to attempt an autonomous docking in orbit. Though the company has shaken up the stodgy aerospace industry by designing rockets for rapid reusability, and pioneering entertaining, informative live streams featuring young engineers, it's never flown astronauts.

"As a country, we're looking forward to being one customer of many customers, in a robust commercial marketplace in low Earth orbit, so that we can drive down costs and increase access in ways that historically have not been possible", he said Saturday following Dragon's launch. The Crew Dragon includes a new emergency escape system, first tested in 2015, that's created to carry astronauts to safety if there's an emergency. President Donald Trump congratulated SpaceX in a tweet Saturday afternoon.

Docking is expected to be followed by a hatch opening and welcoming ceremony by the Expedition 58 crew of the International Space Station, which includes Russian cosmonaut and station commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and NASA astronaut Anne McClain.

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