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Historic Mission Of SpaceX Takes American Astronauts To ISS

Historic Mission Of SpaceX Takes American Astronauts To ISS
In a very significant move for the United States’ privately owned space companies,  Crew Dragon spacecraft of the SpaceX was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday in collaboration with NASA which ferried two American astronauts for the International Space Station (ISS).
Historic Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center was used for launching the Crew Dragon spacecraft off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The co-commanders on the mission were veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
The launch was also watched by the United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted, "For the first time in 9 years, we have now launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. I'm so proud of the NASA and SpaceX team for making this moment possible."
Falcon 9's reusable first stage booster has successfully landed on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship off the Florida coast.
According to NASA, the Crew Dragon reached Earth orbit about 12 minutes after takeoff and has now docked with the ISS.
The docking process of the spacecraft with the ISS has been designed to be done automatically by the spacecraft but the approach and docking was monitored by the two astronauts and the ISS so that control of the spacecraft can be taken over by them if needed.
The program for the two astronauts abroad the ISS include performing tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew. He mission will end with the tow member crew of the Crew Dragon undocking from the station, deorbiting, and returning Behnken and Hurley to Earth. According to NASA, the space craft will make a spash landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA has not yet announced the duration of the mission. The time period of the mission will be decided on the basis of the  readiness of the next commercial crew launch, NASA said.
According to NASA, Behnken and Hurley were among the first astronauts who started to work and train on SpaceX's next-generation human space vehicle. NASA added that the two astronauts were selected because they possessed extensive flight experience and as test pilots which includes conducting a number of missions on the space shuttle.
The joint operations commander for the mission is Behnken and his responsibilities include those of rendezvous, docking and undocking, as well as Demo-2 activities while the spacecraft is docked to the ISS. The spacecraft commander for the mission is Hurley and his responsibilities include activities such as launch, landing and recovery.
This mission marked the final test flight for SpaceX for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.  The company said that this mission will allow it to gather critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and ground systems. It will also gain valuable data and experience of the processes of in-orbit, docking and landing.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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