Hubby was disappointed Wednesday when the joint NASA-Space-X launch was postponed until today due to weather. All was well at approximately 3:44 p.m. this afternoon though as engines fired and the ship streaked upward. This was an especially significant moment because of the public-private nature of the effort. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a Crew Dragon spacecraft on its first test flight with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on-board to be taken to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the NASA’s commercial crew program. The Crew Dragon will return to a splashdown at sea later in the weekend. NASA astronauts previously went to the ISS on regular shuttle flights, but that program was discontinued in 2011, leaving only Russia capable of delivering individuals to the station. By way of quick facts, 15 nations contributed to the station that was completed between 1998 and 2011, although the station has been continuously occupied since late in 2000 with more than 230 individuals from 18 different countries spending time on it. Several years ago my sister asked us to go with her to a launch because her Swedish neighbor was finally getting to go up. He’d been training in Houston for years and part of the tour that day was watching other pieces of the ISS being assembled. Different modules and capabilities have been continuously added to it.
Anyway, Elon Musk and his Space-X teams have had failures as always happens when working in this level of technology. Today, however, if not perfect (and it may have been) accomplished the critical initial stages of the mission. Unlike Hubby, who has kept track of multiple stages leading up to this, I was not aware a woman,Gwynne Shotwell, is the President and Chief Operating Officer for Space-X. She was one of the early employees of the company and in the interview shortly before blast-off, she said she’d become accustomed to launches, but was nervous about this one.
There are thousands of individuals in hundreds of roles involved with making something like this happen; all of whom must be feeling very proud today.