"America has launched" - SpaceX launches Bob and Doug to the ISS
On Saturday, May 30th, SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon on top, inside were Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, destined for the International Space Station. After 1 delay on Wednesday for weather, everything cleared up just in time for a beautiful liftoff from LC-39a at 3:22pm EDT.
This is the first time SpaceX has ever launched humans, first time Astronauts have launched on a privately owned Spacecraft and Rocket, and the first time in 9 years that Astronauts have launched from America since the end of the Space Shuttle in 2011.
The flight proceeded nominally through the atmosphere all the way up to a successful orbit, Bob and Doug described this ride to orbit as smooth for the first stage, but a little rough during the second stage burn.
Rendezvousing and Docking with the ISS was just as smooth as the launch was, with no issues arising. Crew Dragon autonomously docked to the ISS on May 31st at 10:16am EDT with no manual inputs from Bob or Doug needed. Although, they did test the manual controls about 700ft away from the station to prove those capabilities if they were needed. They entered the ISS around 1:22pm EDT and joined the current crew and will stay from 6-16 weeks, helping the crew with experiments, spacewalks, etc.
This is an extremely historic moment for SpaceX, NASA, and the nation itself. This opens up the capability to launch humans to space from the United States and paves the way to launching Astronauts back to the Moon to stay from Florida’s coast. This is an exciting time for the aerospace industry and things are just getting started.