SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he was “overcome with emotion” as their rocket launched NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley into space on Saturday. The duo are making their way to the International Space Station (ISS) on a capsule built by the billionaire entrepreneur’s firm.
Musk said: “I think this is something that should really get people right in the heart – anyone who has a spirit of exploration.”
He added: “I am really quite overcome with emotion – it’s kind of hard to talk really.
“It’s been 18 years working towards this goal. It’s really hard to believe that it’s happened.
“This is a craft made by humans, for humans, I think it’s something humanity should be proud about occurring on this day.”
Behnken, 49, and Hurley, 53, will join the three other residents – NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Russia’s Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
Together, they will become members of the Expedition 63 crew.
Earlier, United States President Donald Trump said “a new age of American ambition has now begun”.
In a post-launch address, he added: “Under NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme, we will use rockets and spacecraft designed, built, owned and launched by private American companies at a fixed price for the American taxpayer.
“Today’s launch makes clear the commercial space industry is the future.”
The International Space Station is visible overhead from several locations worldwide.
NASA said: “It is the third brightest object in the sky and easy to spot if you know when to look up.
“Visible to the naked eye, it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher and travelling thousands of miles an hour faster!”
The ISS flies 400km high at speeds that defy gravity. At 28,800 km/h it only takes 90 minutes for the weightless laboratory to make a complete circuit of Earth.
Published at Sun, 31 May 2020 08:03:00 +0000