NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Launch: “the beginning of a new golden age of space exploration.”

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Launch: "the beginning of a new golden age of space exploration."
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Launch: "the beginning of a new golden age of space exploration." Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

SpaceX, the private company owned by Elon Musk, on Saturday successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Florida to Earth, launching a Falcon 9 rocket for the first time in nine years.

The Falcon 9 rocket was launched from Kennedy space center at 3:22 p.m. local time, 11:22 p.m., and a 7 p.m. long journey to the International Space Station (ISS) in a new capsule of the Crew Dragon rocket was taken by astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

The Crew Dragon capsule separated from the rocket 13 minutes after launch and entered orbit.

“It’s incredible, the power, the technology,” said U.S. President Donald Trump, who was at Kennedy space center during the launch. “That was wonderful to see.”

Due to a storm near the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, the launch was delayed 17 minutes before the flight on Wednesday. The Falcon 9 was launched from the same platform from which it launched in 2011. The last NASA shuttle operated by Hurley went into space.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley suit up for launch on May 30, 2020. Image credit: NASA TV

The successful mission is the achievement of NASA’s main goal, as formulated by the agency’s head, Jim Bridenstine, to re-send “American astronauts using an American rocket from American soil.”

It’s also the first time Americans have been brought into space by commercial spacecraft owned by private companies that operate them. NASA last launched astronauts aboard a new spacecraft 40 years ago at the start of the Space Shuttle program.

Musk, a South African and tech mogul who made a fortune in Silicon Valley, is chief executive of electric car and battery manufacturer Tesla.

Hurley, 53, and Behnken, 49, are NASA employees under contract with SpaceX, they should stay on the ISS for a few weeks and assist a crew already in that space lab.