It was launched Friday with the help of a Falcon 9 launcher from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida, USA. SpaceX has now brought ten astronauts to the International Space Station in about a year after the company had previously only transported cargo.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk said: “We are excited to be part of the progress in manned spaceflight and look forward to transcending Earth’s orbit to the moon and Mars and one day helping humanity create a space travel civilization on multiple planets.” Acting NASA Chief Steve Goarchik spoke of a “milestone” and “an amazing year for NASA”.
“Crew-2”, which will remain on the International Space Station for a period of six months until the end of October, consists of US astronauts Shane Kembra and Megan MacArthur in addition to their Japanese colleagues Akihiko Hoshid and Frenchman Thomas Pesquet. Pesquet is the first astronaut from the European Space Agency, Esa, to fly to the International Space Station on board the “Crew Dragon”. With the astronauts, the “Crew Dragon” also transported about 110 kilograms of supplies and materials for scientific experiments.
This is the second crew to be promoted from SpaceX to the International Space Station. The first ship – American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, as well as their Japanese colleague Soishi Noguchi – docked at the International Space Station in November. They are scheduled to return to Earth at the end of April. Until then it will be tight on the International Space Station: in addition to “Crew-1”, astronauts Oleg Nowizki and Pyotr Dubrow as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei have been on board the space station since early April.
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Crew-1 was the first to regularly fly a Crew Dragon to the International Space Station after a successful manned test flight to the International Space Station last spring. After a hiatus of nearly nine years, the test marked the first time astronauts had returned to orbit from American soil – and the first time that they had ever been promoted by a private space company.
SpaceX made its third manned flight to the International Space Station for the first time with a previously used “Crew Dragon” capsule and rocket stage. Additionally, the missile stage has safely landed on the ground and will be used again to save costs. Four more manned flights are currently planned from SpaceX to the International Space Station.