Manned SpaceX rocket launches from Florida
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/30/20, 04:45 pm
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are the first astronauts to fly into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., in nearly a decade. The two NASA astronauts blasted off at 3:22 p.m. EDT on Saturday aboard a rocket designed and built by the U.S. company SpaceX. They docked with the International Space Station and boarded it early on Sunday.
What’s special about this launch? Since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, American astronauts have had to catch expensive rides on Russian spaceships. SpaceX designed the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket to land on a barge at sea—instead of crashing into the ocean like previous rockets—so it can be refueled and used again, saving money. Ultimately, NASA hopes commercial partners will help send U.S. astronauts back to the moon in the next few years and on to Mars in the 2030s.
Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Daniel James Devine’s report about NASA’s reliance on private firms.
Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.
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