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SpaceX Falon 9 Rocket Carries Four Astronauts To ISS Successfully; Lands Back On Earth
SpaceX has been adding feathers to its cap, as the number of successful missions keeps increasing by the day. The latest one was where the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with the Crew Dragon capsule carried four astronauts to the International Space Station. After dropping off the astronauts at ISS, the Falcon 9 returned to Earth safe and intact.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Carries Astronauts To ISS
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:49 AM EDT (around 3:15 PM IST). The launch marked the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, which carried four astronauts, namely Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur from NASA, Thomas Pesquet from the French space agency, and Japanese flyer Akihiko Hoshide.
The ride lasted for 24 hours to reach the International Space Station with the launch countdown proceeding smoothly. "Our crew is flying astronauts from NASA, ESA, and JAXA, which hasn't happened in over 20 years. Off the Earth, for the Earth, Endeavour is ready to go," Kimbrough told SpaceX flight controllers just before launch, thanking NASA and the SpaceX teams.
"Endeavour arriving!" Welcome to the @Space_Station, Crew-2!— NASA (@NASA) April 24, 2021
Their arrival means there are now 11 humans aboard our orbiting laboratory, a number not seen since the space shuttle era. Hugs abound. pic.twitter.com/uSwW3JFl6K
SpaceX Creates New Record, Again
The recent SpaceX Falon 9 liftoff marked several new firsts, once again. The Crew Dragon capsule carrying the astronauts for the first used capsule, where previously, two other astronauts flew in the same cabin. The previous Crew-1 mission had carried Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to ISS, marking the first trip aboard a private spaceship.
What's interesting to know is Behnken is McArthur's husband, further giving the mission a personal touch! Additionally, the latest trip to the ISS was the first time where two different international astronauts were riding on the Falcon 9 rocket. So far, only NASA astronauts have flown on Space rockets.
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Lands Safe And Intact
The Falcon 9 made a safe return back to Earth, ticking off another box on reusable rockets. Looking back, SpaceX recovered its first Falcon 9 booster back in December 2015. This was a trip where the rocket delivered a communications satellite into space for OrbComm before returning to Earth and touching down safely back in Florida.
A few months later, SpaceX recovered its first booster on a floating platform at sea, called a drone ship. SpaceX presently has two drone ships in its fleet named named "Of Course I Still Love You" (OCISLY) and "Just Read the Instructions" (JRTI). To note, landing on a drone ship at sea is less convenient, but it also saves a lot of fuel.
With two drone ships in hand, SpaceX and NASA have both achieved significantly with reusable rockets. Recently, SpaceX broke all records when it launched a total of 26 missions in 2020 of which the majority were launched from reused rockets.
SpaceX Starlink Program Continues
In other news, the SpaceX Starlink internet-beaming project continues as planned. The satellite-beaming internet service is currently available for pre-order in India. Soon, Indian residents can witness a significant boost in internet and broadband speeds, thanks to Elon Musk's Starlink project.