Elon Musk's SpaceX Makes History With First Astronaut Launch With NASA
By Desiree Murphy
SpaceX just made history with its first astronaut launch for NASA.
Following a first attempt on Wednesday that was scrubbed due to inclement weather, Elon Musk's company partnered with NASA to launch its first crewed mission, a test flight called Demo-2, on Saturday. The historic moment marked the first time since 2011 that NASA sent American astronauts back to the International Space Station, on an American rocket, from American soil.
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley were onboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft, which launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The launch took off from Launch Complex 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:23 p.m. EST.
"It is absolutely our honor to be part of this huge effort to get the United States back in the launch business. We'll talk to you from orbit," Hurley said before takeoff.
"We want to inspire kids to say, 'One day, I want to wear that spacesuit,' and get them fired up to say, 'Yeah, I want to be an astronaut. I want to work on aerospace engineering, I want to advance spaceflight,'" Musk said in a joint broadcast from SpaceX and NASA on Wednesday. "What I think today is about is reigniting the dream of space, and getting people fired up about the future."
"It's just a great, exciting, inspiring day," he continued. "It's one of those things that makes you glad to wake up in the morning."
Prior to Wednesday's initial launch, the official Twitter account for the International Space Station shared video of Behnken and Hurley, clad in their custom-made SpaceX spacesuits, jumping into the backseat of a NASA logo-emblazoned Tesla Model X electric-powered SUV en route to the launch pad.
As for Musk, he certainly has a lot to celebrate this year. In addition to SpaceX's historic launch, the 48-year-old engineer also welcomed a son, X Æ A-Xii. The baby boy marks his first child with girlfriend Grimes. He's also father to sons Xavier, Griffin, Kai, Saxon and Damian. His late son, Nevada, died in 2002 from sudden infant death syndrome at just 10 weeks old.