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NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley

10 interesting facts about SpaceX's first crew launch

  • The Crew Dragon capsule sat on top of the Falcon 9 and was detached after a successful launch
  • The space agency on Sunday said the mission is an important step to expand human exploration to deeper space missions

Elon Musk owned SpaceX has registered itself in history books after successfully launching two NASA astronauts to space towards the International Space Station (ISS). This was done by using the company’s re-usable Falcon 9 rocket. The Crew Dragon capsule sat on top of the Falcon 9 and was detached after a successful launch. The US space agency on Sunday said the mission is an important step to expand human exploration to deeper space missions.

Here are some interesting facts about the historic event:

  • The two NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are the first two american astronauts to fly into space from US soil in the last 9 years
  • The last NASA launch happened on 8 July 2011. In the past years, NASA was taking Russia’s help by using the Soyuz spacecraft to take astronauts to the ISS

The astronaut helmets were 3D printed
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The astronaut helmets were 3D printed (SpaceX/Twitter)

  • This was the first commercial flight to space. The SpaceX flight is the first time a commercial company has ferried two humans into space. This company will be charging on a seat basis, similar to how flights work
  • The Crew Dragon capsule was designed to sit on top of Falcon 9 rockets and is running completely on autonomous mode

Crew Dragon capsule sitting atop Falcon 9 rocket during the launch
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Crew Dragon capsule sitting atop Falcon 9 rocket during the launch (SpaceX/Twitter)

  • The docking procedure with the ISS will also be conducted through the autonomous process. The astronauts won’t have to manually control the capsule before docking. However, they can manually override the controls
  • The Crew Dragon capsule is devoid of any buttons or switches, which has been the norm in all space flights up till now. The capsule has large touch screens to navigate and control the various functions. The capsule also gets a life support system for times of crisis
  • The suits of the two astronauts are not only built to endure harsh conditions of the space, they were also built with aesthetics in mind. SpaceX designed the suit in collaboration with costume designer Jose Hernandez
  • The astronauts have been preparing for the launch in SpaceX’s headquarters. Last year, the company even conducted a dry run without any crew onboard and was able to dock successfully

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley ready for launch
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NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley ready for launch (SpaceX/Twitter)

  • Falcon 9, the rocket that carried the Crew Dragon to space is already back in a safe condition and successfully landed on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. The safe return of the rocket will help SpaceX save costs in future
  • NASA had planned the first launch attempt for 27 May but it was postponed due to bad weather conditions.

After spending a few weeks at the space station, the two astronauts will begin their journey back to earth using the same Crew Dragon capsule.

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