SpaceX launches 4 astronauts into space
Washington, Nov 16: Four astronauts were launched by SpaceX to the International Space Station on Sunday on the first taxi flight for NASA by a private company.
The Falcon rocket was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre with three Americans and one Japanese. The Dragon capsule on top named Resilience due to the various challenges this year was due to reach the space station late Monday and remain there until spring.
Owing to the virus, SpaceX founder Elon Musk was forced to monitor the action from far.
In a tweet, he had said that he most likely had a moderate case of COVID-19.
On Friday, NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine said that this is another historic moment.
Make no mistake, vigilance is always required on every flight he also said.
Vice President, Mike Pence travelled from Washington to watch the launch.
The three-men, one-woman crew led by Commander Mike Hopkins, an Air Force colonel, named their capsule Resilience.
In June Indian Space Research Organisation congratulated NASA and SpaceX for their manned mission and termed it as "historic."
SpaceX''s Dragon spacecraft with two NASA astronauts in June ahd successfully docked with the International Space Station after a historic launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, marking the dawn of a new age in commercial space travel.
Saturday''s liftoff also assumes significance as it marks the launch of humans into orbit from US soil for the first time in nearly a decade.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley had lifted off at 3:22 pm EDT on June 1 atop the company''s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA''s Kennedy Space Center.
India too is preparing for its first manned space mission "Gaganyaan".
The Rs 10,000-crore ambitious project is expected to be launched in 2022, the year of the 75th anniversary of India''s Independence.
Four Indian Air Force fighter pilots are currently undergoing training in Moscow, and are going to be the potential candidates for the Gaganyaan project.