We have liftoff!
Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s official: Just like Elon Musk tweeted on May 23rd: Open your eyes, look up to the skies! History is unfolding right in front of us! The Crew-Dragon, powered by the Falcon 9 rocket, has successfully taken off from launchpad 39A at 3:22 pm Eastern Time!
The Demo-2 Mission encountered multiple roadblocks, including passing a NASA safety review test on May 22, not to mention the postponement of the mission during the initial launch date on May 27th due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Initial Objective: Reaching the International Space Station:
The rocket separated into a first and second stage shortly after takeoff. The first stage of the Falcon 9 was retrieved by a SpaceX landing ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast. Hence the ability to reuse the most expensive parts of the rocket for other missions, which lowers the quote-unquote, “cost of space access”, as defined on SpaceX’s official website.
Once the Crew-Dragon reached the low-Earth orbit located approximately 2000 kilometers above Earth’s surface 12 minutes after takeoff, it separated from the Falcon 9’s second stage.
It is also expected that the Crew Dragon capsule will orbit the planet for the next 19 hours at an approximate speed of 27,000 kph, before it starts the process of docking on the ISS. Assuming that everything goes according to plan, the docking will take place at 10:29 AM Eastern Time, on Sunday May 31st.
Making History: An overview:
As previously stated, NASA and SpaceX will be making history on two fronts.
First of all, the Demo-2 mission will mark for the first time in the history of Mankind that a private company sends astronauts to space; Secondly, this is the first time since 2011 that Astronauts are launched into orbit from U.S. soil, as NASA has been completely relying on the Soyuz spacecraft to send astronauts to the International Space Station.
We shall return to you as soon as the Crew Dragon has successfully docked on the ISS; in the meantime FEM fans, stay tuned!