SpaceX officially made history with the first successful launch of humans into space by a private company. The Crew Dragon capsule, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, safely reached orbit 12 minutes after launch and is now en route to the International Space Station.
The first launch attempt was postponed Wednesday due to bad weather, but went off without a hitch on Saturday afternoon, with an emotional team from NASA and SpaceX staff.
The launch marks the first time since the 2011 end of the Space Shuttle program that an American spacecraft has carried NASA astronauts into orbit, and on to the ISS.
The NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, became emotional while delivering remarks after the crew reached orbit.
“I’m breathing a sigh of relief, but I will also tell you I’m not going to celebrate until Bob and Doug are home safely,” Bridenstine said, adding: “I’ve heard that rumble before, but it’s a whole different feeling when it’s your team on top of that rocket.”
Elon Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, expressed his enthusiasm during the first launch attempt on Wednesday: “This is a dream come true for me and everyone else at SpaceX.”
“I didn’t even dream that this would come true.”
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