The omens were not necessarily the best: the first attempt to start on Wednesday had to be canceled due to bad weather, and on Friday a SpaceX test rocket exploded in a giant fireball. The launch of the tried-and-tested Falcon-9 from SpaceX with two astronauts in the Crew Dragon capsule at the top was postponed to Saturday: The puncture fired its engines punctually on Saturday at 9:22 p.m. German time and rose into the cloudy sky over Florida .
In the Tesla Model X to the rocket
For the first time since the last Space Shuttle in 2011, the USA, thanks to SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk, sent its own astronauts on their way to space with their own rocket. As with the first attempt on Wednesday, Robert Behnken and Dough Hurley in white SpaceX suits rolled in a white Teslas Model X to the start ramp on the historic NASA base. They reached the capsule via a high elevator. The final decision to fill the fuel tanks was made 45 minutes before the planned start.
A break was then still possible as on Wednesday, but the weather held and the countdown could continue to 0. The rocket ignited without any problems, cheers burned up. In the United States, the event was celebrated like an absolute premiere – it definitely marked the return of the United States to manned space travel. Tesla, SpaceX, and Musk fans on Twitter overwhelmed with enthusiasm. With SpaceX like Tesla, Musk has a lot more plans, increasingly also in collaborations. Ultimately, he is drawn to Mars.
– SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 30, 2020
According to SpaceX, the current Mission Demo-2 is the last important test before the certification of your own system for regular manned flights to the International Space Station and back. After a good two minutes, the first stage was burned out and returned to Earth, as SpaceX has made a habit of reducing costs. The second stage pushed the astronauts towards their orbit. Twelve minutes after launch, her capsule was separated from the missile and continued on towards the ISS.
When Behnken and Hurley reached and docked the space station on Sunday afternoon in German time, they should stay there for 30 to 90 days and support the current crew. By the end of August at the latest, they should be back on Earth with the Crew Dragon. The astronauts should already be heroes. And if they return safely, then Elon Musk at the latest.