SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to the ISS aboard Crew Dragon ‘Resilience’

SpaceX launches 4 astronauts to the ISS aboard Crew Dragon ‘Resilience’

Four astronauts were successfully launched on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience to the International Space Station on Sunday, the first of what the United States expects to be many routine missions after a successful test flight in late spring.

Three Americans, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and the Japanese Soichi Noguchi took off at 7:27 pm (5:57 am Monday IST) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, thus ending almost a decade of dependence. International Russia for trips on its Soyuz rockets.

Crew members of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket gesture as they depart for the launch pad

President-elect of the United States Joe biden greeted the launch in Twitter as a “testament to the power of science and what we can achieve by harnessing our innovation, ingenuity and determination,” while President Donald Trump called it “great.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the launch with his wife Karen, called it a “new era in human space exploration in America.”

The Pences teamed up POT administrator Jim Bridenstine and his wife Michelle to watch the launch, clapping as the rocket lifted off.

The capsule was successfully separated from the second stage of the rocket and, according to a Spacex A member of the team speaking on the radio had achieved “nominal orbit insertion.”

That means the capsule is currently on the correct path to reach the ISS.

The crew will dock at their destination around 11:00 pm Monday night (9:30 am Tuesday IST), join two Russians and an American aboard the station, and stay for six months.

In May, SpaceX completed a demonstration mission showing that it could get astronauts to the ISS and bring them back safely, a landmark development that allows the United States to begin traveling to the space station on its own once again.

the Crew Dragon earlier this week it became the first NASA-certified spacecraft since the Space shuttle almost 40 years ago.

It is a capsule, similar in shape to the spacecraft that preceded the space shuttle, and its launch vehicle is a reusable one SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

At the end of their missions, Crew Dragon deploys parachutes and then splashes into the water, just like in the Apollo was.

NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing after shutting down the checkered space shuttle program in 2011, which failed in its main goals of making space travel affordable and safe.

The agency will have spent more than $ 8 billion (approximately Rs. 59.6 billion rupees) on the Commercial Crew program by 2024, in the hope that the private sector can address NASA’s “low Earth orbit” needs to you can focus on missions back to the Moon and then to Mars.

SpaceX, founded by Elon musk In 2002, it surpassed its much older rival Boeing, whose program failed after a failed test of its unmanned Starliner last year.

Russians unimpressed

But SpaceX’s success doesn’t mean the United States will stop hitchhiking Russia entirely, Bridenstine said.

“We want to have a seat swap where American astronauts can fly on Russian Soyuz rockets and Russian cosmonauts can fly on commercial crew vehicles,” he said, explaining that it was necessary in case any of the programs were down for a period. of time.

The reality, however, is that the space ties between the United States and Russia, one of the few bright spots in their bilateral relations, have faded in recent years and much remains uncertain.

Russia has said it will not be a partner in the Sagebrush program to return to the Moon in 2024, claiming that the NASA-led mission is too focused on the United States.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, has also repeatedly poked fun at SpaceX’s technology, and this summer announced that Roscosmos would build rockets that would surpass Musk’s.

He told a state news agency that he was not impressed with the Crew Dragon’s water landing, calling it “quite difficult” and saying his agency was developing a methane rocket that will be reusable 100 times.

But the fact that a national space agency is motivated to compare itself to a company is possibly a validation of NASA’s public-private strategy.

The appearance of SpaceX has also deprived Roscosmos of a valuable income stream.

The cost of round-trip Russian rocket trips had risen to about $ 85 million (roughly Rs 600 million) per astronaut, according to last year’s estimates.

Presidential transition

Presidential transitions are always a difficult time for NASA, and Joe Biden’s ascension in January is expected to be no different.

The agency has not yet received from Congress the tens of billions of dollars needed to end the Artemis program.

Bridenstine has announced that he will resign to allow the new president to set his own goals for space exploration.

So far, Biden has not commented on the 2024 timeline.

The Democratic party documents say they support NASA’s aspirations for the Moon and Mars, but also emphasize raising the agency’s Earth science division to better understand how climate change is affecting our planet.

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