Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX teamed with NASA for taking the space program to the next level. SpaceX’s Falcon9 rocket took-up two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station today afternoon from Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX is currently in the development phase to built spaceships to carry humans to Mars.
This ended NASA’s nine-year abstinence from the space shuttle program.NASA’s last space shuttle program was on July 8, 2011. SpaceX is the first private company to take astronauts in to orbit.
With test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken poised to take over manual control if necessary, the SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically after a series of handshake security checks. It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the orbiting lab in its nearly 20 years. NASA considers this the opening volley in a business revolution encircling Earth and eventually stretching to the moon and Mars.
A few hours before docking, the Dragon riders reported that the capsule was performing beautifully. Just in case, they slipped back into their pressurized launch suits and helmets for the rendezvous.
The three space station residents kept cameras trained on the incoming capsule for the benefit of flight controllers at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.