America Launches Astronauts Into Space, 1st Time in Almost 10 Years

Cape Canaveral, FL, May 30, 2020

The final space shuttle mission in July of 2011 was the last time American astronauts were launched into space from U.S. soil. Since then NASA has relied on Russian rockets to propel crews to the International Space Station.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, 2020, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. Liftoff occurred at 3:22 p.m. EDT. Behnken and Hurley are the first astronauts to launch from U.S. soil to the space station since the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011. Part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, this will be SpaceX’s final flight test, paving the way for the agency to certify the crew transportation system for regular, crewed flights to the orbiting laboratory. Photo Courtesy of NASA

Saturday, May 30th, 2020 a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 pm ET carrying astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into orbit. It was spectacular.

Leaving from launchpad 39A, the same location that sent Apollo 11’s astronauts to the moon, the liftoff and transition into orbit proceeded flawlessly. Both astronauts are seasoned veterans of space flight, Hurley was on the final shuttle mission in 2011.

Behnken commented, “It was incredible,” as the Crew Dragon capsule entered Earth orbit. “Appreciate all the hard work and thanks for the great ride to space.”

The main stage of the rocket re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and successfully landed on the drone recovery ship. Unfortunately, the camera onboard lost viewing during the touchdown. Here is a video of a previous similar rocket landing.

Sunday morning the capsule docked with the International Space Station, again with spectacular footage from onboard cameras of both space crafts.