SpaceX Launches First American Spacecraft for Astronauts since Space Shuttle
4 months ago Triangle 0
Written by: Mathäus Schwarzen, staff writer
American space launch company SpaceX successfully performed an unmanned test launch of their Crew Dragon capsule from the Kennedy Space Center on March 2. The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the capsule blasted off at 2:49 a.m. (E.T.), and the capsule docked with the International Space Station at 5:51 a.m. the next day.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stressed that the capsule’s journey to NASA approval was not over yet: “We’re only part way through the mission, but the system thus far has passed an exhaustive set of reviews.”
NASA hopes to use the capsule to cut down on their launch costs. The US has been paying Russia $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the ISS according to NASA. The cost of a filling one of the Dragon capsule’s seven seats will be just $52 million by comparison.
SpaceX has achieved these lower costs by recovering and reusing essential parts of their rockets.
SpaceX also showed its flair for drama with the launch. On board the Dragon capsule was a dummy named Ripley— a nod to the hero of the sci-fi film Alien.
The Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean exactly on time at 8:45 a.m. Eastern, March 8.