After nearly a decade, NASA successfully launched SpaceX Dragon into outer space.
The launch, which occurred on May 30 at 3:22 pm Eastern Time is the first-ever launch that a private company performed. Therefore, many mark this event as the beginning of a new era of human space travel in the United States.
The SpaceX Dragon, which launched from the same location as the historical Apollo missions, was built and handled by SpaceX. SpaceX is a private company that billionaire Elon Musk founded. Although this mission may seem small in comparison to other space endeavors, it’s SpaceX’s first step towards a much larger goal: sending humans to Mars.
Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will dock at the International Space Station and remain in space for at least a month.
After that, the world will watch the second half of this monumental mission unfold when the astronauts re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The astronauts will also bring a capsule back from space.
However, the rocket itself wasn’t the only component of the SpaceX mission that reminded us that we can accomplish great things.
SpaceX also invested lots of time and energy into creating new spacesuits. The suits not only protect the astronauts from possible perils, but they also fit the astronauts well. These new suits have a slimmer fit than do older spacesuits. These lightweight, protective suits took the SpaceX team nearly four years to design. They underwent extensive testing prior to last week’s launch.
We won’t know the full extent of SpaceX’s success until the astronauts return. But this mission is the beginning of a new era.
I firmly believe that we will see more private companies collaborate with NASA in the coming years. In fact, Boeing is already in the process of developing its own crew capsule, the CST-100 Starliner. Although Boeing encountered multiple glitches during their first test run last year, the airplane manufacturer is working hard to catch up to SpaceX’s monumental achievement.
According to SpaceX, though, this mission is part of a long list of plans to send ordinary people into space. In fact, the company plans to send tourists into orbit in the near future. SpaceX is also partnering with Axiom, which plans to launch their own space station for tourists by the year 2024.
Although we’ve witnessed many negative events so far in 2020, this historical mission brightened our year. Keep your eyes on the sky because this launch is just the beginning of a bright future for SpaceX and NASA.
Featured Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash.