On 30 May, the United States had the first human spaceflight launched from US soil in 9 years. Falcon 9 of SpaceX launched Crew Dragon demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying two NASA astronauts.
Since 2011, NASA has been reliant on Russian space rockets for sending its astronauts to outer space. On Sunday, Russia's space agency Roscosmos congratulated SpaceX over its successful launch of a manned rocket.
"I would like to greet our American colleagues," cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, Roscosmos executive director for crewed space programmes, said in a brief video address on the agency's Twitter page. Moreover, "the success of the mission will provide us with additional opportunities that will benefit the whole international programme".
“I’m really quite overcome with emotion,” SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said at a post-launch press conference. “It’s been 18 years working towards this goal. It is hard to believe that has happened.”
The Crew Dragon spaceflight launched from US soil docked with the ISS 19 hours after launch. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will remain on the station for up to four months. The next Crew Dragon is meanwhile prepared for a launch now scheduled for no earlier than 30 August.
“This has been a long time coming,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in post-launch remarks on NASA TV. “It has been nine years since we have launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil; and now we have done it.”
The Commercial Crew Program is a human spaceflight programme that NASA operates in association with Boeing and SpaceX. The commercial crew program started in 2010 with a series of funded Space Act Agreement initiatives to SpaceX and other companies.
At least 10.3 million people watched on Nasa’s broadcast and social media platforms alone, in addition to global news channels.