Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
On 30th May 2020, NASA successfully launched the manned Falcon-9 rocket on its second attempt. The mission was originally meant to take place on 27th May, 2020 but was postponed due to bad weather conditions. While there are several special revolutionary and historical features about this reusable[SS1] rocket, the most notable is the fact that a manned rocket has left the US soil after nine years to reach the Low Earth Orbit, and eventually the International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) is, in layman’s terms, a large spacecraft that orbits around the earth. It has also been a ‘home’ to several astronauts. The ISS doubles up as a laboratory that has been set up by various countries, and is made up of assorted pieces set up by astronauts in space.
Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, former military test pilots are the two astronauts being launched into space. They will be reaching the final destination in the last module of the rocket, the Crew Dragon Capsule. They intend to resupply the International Space Station. NASA grants something known as Commercial Resupply Services, or CRS to deliver cargo and other supplies to the International space station, which is exactly what the Falcon -9 is being sent for. The launch took place on Saturday from the Kennedy Space Centre Florida, a NASA field center. To be specific, it took place from Complex 39A, the famous Florida pad from where the Apollo 11 moonwalkers too began their missions.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a US Government based agency, meant for overseeing space and air projects. NASA has been in charge of many missions including Project Apollo and Project Gemini. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. or SpaceX as we know it, is, on the other hand, a private American company headed by Elon Musk. The company mainly deals with ‘aerospace manufacturing’ and ‘space transformation’. SpaceX was also in charge of creating the Dragon Spacecraft, which has been sent along with the Flacon -9 rocket to resupply the ISS.
This launch marked not only the transportation of humans to low earth orbit in a very long time but also the commercialization of space crafts and their launching by an organization other than NASA. Moreover, SpaceX has also cut down the cost to $55 million per astronaut, for one round trip, which is quite cheap as compared to other rides and missions. As Musk correctly pointed out on the day of the launch, “This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilization on Mars, of life becoming multiplanetary, a base on the moon and expanding beyond Earth.”
Written by Prakriti Panwar
Prakriti is fifteen years old. She studies in Navy Children School, Mumbai, and just finished her board exams.
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