After a delay on Wednesday due to bad weather, a Falcon-9 launch vehicle with the Crew Dragon, both from SpaceX, departed on Saturday evening at 9:22 PM Belgian time. For the first commercial manned mission ever, it transports two astronauts to the International Space Station.
The capsule has successfully detached from the second rocket stage. On board are the experienced astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. Arrival for an in principle automatic connection to the ISS, where the Belgian Frank De Winne – also as captain – stayed, is expected within 24 hours.
President Donald Trump had come to Florida for what has now been dubbed “Launch America”. “Unbelievable,” said US President Donald Trump. He added that it was “just a start.” “Real geniuses, no one does better than us.”
In 2011, the US docked the space shuttle in the aftermath of the 2003 Columbia space shuttle fatal accident. Americans have since relied on Russia for manned space transportation, which has not led to major problems despite mounting political tensions.
SpaceX was born almost 20 years ago, after Musk cashed heavily in the sale of the online payment company Paypal. With $ 180 million from his internet adventure, he decided to focus on two other areas that he saw as essential to the long-term survival of humanity. One of those areas was sustainable transportation – something that would result in his role with the electric car manufacturer Tesla and the solar energy company SolarCity. But even before Tesla was mentioned, Musk decided to venture into space, a place that, according to the entrepreneur, we must colonize if we want to survive as a species.