SpaceX Successfully Delivers NASA Astronauts to the International Space Station

Dragon Endeavour Astronauts Entering the ISS

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (Photo: NASA/Bill Stafford)

Elon Musk's SpaceX has made history by successfully docking the Dragon Endeavour spaceship at the International Space Station. Veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were aboard the spaceship, which was launched into orbit via the Falcon 9 rocket on May 30. It's the first time that NASA astronauts have entered the ISS from a commercially made spaceship. Now, they'll be able to spend the next 110 days at the space station before climbing back into the Dragon Endeavour and returning home.

The successful docking is just the latest triumph for Musk's SpaceX, which was founded 18 years ago. Saturday's event at Cape Canaveral was the first time that a crewed launch has occurred on American soil since 2011. After the takeoff was delayed by several days due to bad weather, there was some concern that Saturday's liftoff wouldn't happen either. Luckily, the weather cleared and at 3:22 pm ET, the Falcon 9 rocket took off. About 12 minutes later, its payload—the Dragon Endeavour—popped off and was flung into low-Earth orbit.

Space X Falcon 9 Rocket Taking Off

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral on May 30, 2020. (Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Just 19 hours later, the astronauts arrived safely at the International Space Station. Behnken and Hurley, who were among the first astronauts to train on SpaceX's space vehicle, will be testing the spaceship's performance. As this is the last step before NASA certifies the Dragon Endeavour as operational for long-duration missions to the space station, they'll be performing tests on the spaceship to ensure all is going as it should.

“Dragon was huffing and puffing all the way into orbit, and we were definitely driving or riding a Dragon all the way up,” said Behnken during a welcome ceremony at the ISS. “While we're on-board the space station with a new spacecraft, we do hope to put her through her paces. So the good ship Endeavour is going to get a lot of checkout over the next week or two here, and hopefully, we’ll be able to declare her operational.”

For Musk, this is the culmination of years of hard work and tenacity in the face of critics. “This is a dream come true for me and everyone at SpaceX,” he said. “It is the culmination of an incredible amount of work by the SpaceX team, by NASA, and by a number of other partners in the process of making this happen. You can look at this as the results of a hundred thousand people roughly when you add up all the suppliers and everyone working incredibly hard to make this day happen.”

SpaceX made history when the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on May 30, 2020.

It was the first crewed launch from American soil since 2011.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were flung into orbit aboard the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft.

They traveled 19 hours until they successfully docked at the International Space Station.

And they were welcomed aboard by the Expedition 63 crew. They will now spend time testing the spaceship for long-term missions.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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