Featured Image Source: NASA
SpaceX became the first American private company to successfully launch humans to orbit and return them safely. NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley propelled into orbit atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft on May 30. The mission, referred to as Demo-2, was a demonstration voyage meant to certify the craft can reliably transport humans. After 63 days at the International Space Station (ISS) the brave pair returned aboard Dragon safely on August 2nd, a milestone that paves the way for future space exploration missions. SpaceX officially returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, NASA spent nearly a decade booking rides aboard Russian spacecraft.
The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk was overcome with excitement upon the astronauts’ safe return. He welcomed the astronauts on Sunday after they splashed down into the ocean aboard Dragon. Behnken and Hurley were transported to their home base in Houston, Texas, where NASA hosted a welcome ceremony. During the agency’s welcome ceremony, Musk talked about how he felt as the astronauts crossed Earth’s atmosphere aboard the Dragon capsule – "I think, like, my entire adrenaline just dumped, you know? Like, thank God," Musk said. "I'm not very religious, but I prayed for this one." Musk was relieved because spaceflight always comes with its risks; The astronauts safe return showcases SpaceX’s spacecraft is an engineering marvel. Musk stated --
“I do think what this heralds really is fundamentally a new era in spaceflight. We're going to go to the moon, we're going to have a base on the moon, we're going to send people to Mars and make life multiplanetary and I think this day heralds a new age of space exploration. That's what it's all about.”
“We are going to go to the moon, we are going to have a base on the moon, we are going to send people to mars and make life multi-planetary. This day heralds a new age of space exploration” — @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/rdTj0td18V— Starman (@RealLifeStarman) August 3, 2020
Musk also talked about how the Demo-2 mission was conducted during a time where the world needs some inspiration amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, and other issues that take over the news every day. – “I think this is something that the whole world can take some pleasure in and can really look at this as an achievement of humanity,” Musk said. “These are difficult times, when there's not that much good news. I think this is one of those things that is universally good, no matter where you are on planet Earth. This is a good thing, and I hope it brightens your day.”
SpaceX is now preparing to launch a crew of four astronauts aboard Crew Dragon. The Crew-1 mission is expected to take place in mid-to-late September.
Elon Musk's Full Speech