ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday in NASA's first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately-owned spacecraft, Reuters reported. The Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience, lifted off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the NASA centre early today morning.
US Vice President Mike Pence attended the event. It also marked only the second time in nearly a decade that astronauts were set to rocket into orbit from the US. SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk disclosed via Twitter that he most likely has a moderate case of coronavirus, despite mixed test results. NASA policy is that anyone testing positive for the virus to quarantine and remain isolated. Musk said that he had symptoms last week of a minor cold but currently felt pretty normal.
The launch of three Americans and one Japanese, all but one of them former space station residents, comes just three months after a pair of NASA test pilots successfully concluded SpaceX's first occupied flight of a Dragon crew capsule. The crew led by Hopkins, an Air Force colonel, includes physicist Shannon Walker and navy commander and rookie astronaut Victor Glover, who will be the first black astronaut to spend an extended period aboard the space station a full five to six months.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will become only the third person to rocket into orbit aboard three different kinds of spacecraft. They named their capsule Resilience given all the challenges in 2020, most notably the global pandemic.