For the first time in nearly a decade, NASA launched a crewed spaceflight from U.S. soil. The SpaceX rocket sent NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station for the first flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon with astronauts. This is a monumental milestone for NASA, who has relied on Russian Soyuz rockets to send Americans to the ISS since July 2011.
The event is a result of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which funds private American aerospace companies to facilitate the development of U.S. human spaceflight. While SpaceX has been successful in transporting cargo to the International Space Station using the Crew Dragon, this was the first manned spaceflight of the spacecraft.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the historic event last month.“On May 27, @NASA will once again launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil!” Bridenstine tweeted.
Since 1961, only three countries have successfully launched people into orbit: Russia, the U.S., and China. This event is unique because it is the first-ever launch by a private company.
The successful mission will mark a new era in human spaceflight and the U.S. will finally reclaim its leading role in space exploration.