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SpaceX set to send astronauts into space for the first time

SpaceX plans to ferry two NASA astronauts into space on Wednesday. This will be the first crewed flight after nine long years from the US.

The launch will be at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and US President Donald Trump is going to witness it, among the spectators. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the general public has been advised to watch a Livestream.

The Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts- Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, will be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket towards the International Space Station. Hurley has been in the Atlantis on its last trip.

After nineteen hours from the launch, they are scheduled to dock at the International Space Station, where they will be awaited by a group of two Russians and an American.

However, the weather forecast prevails unfriendly, according to Cape Canaveral, there is a 60% chance of bad conditions. And thus the next launch window is scheduled on May 30.

SpaceX has received a funding of $3 billion since the year 2011, in contracts, to build the spacecraft. Though it has taken five more years than expected, it still has beaten Boeing. The latter’s test flight Starliner had failed because of some severe software issues. And thus the Starliner has to be redesigned.

This Commercial Crew Program by NASA started under Barack Obama. It was aimed at sending American astronauts into space.

However, his successor views it as a way to reassert the American domination of space- military and civilian. He has already ordered NASA to return to the moon in 2024.

NASA, which earlier depended on Russia for going into space, later shifted to two private- SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, and Boeing to build capsules that would act as spacecraft.

SpaceX has finally developed a cheaper Falcon 9 rocket with its first stage to land vertically in the Atlantic ocean.

This manned mission, named Demo-2, is of high importance for the US for two reasons- to break NASA’s dependence on the Russians; and catalyze a ‘low Earth Orbit’ for tourists and businesses.

Meanwhile, Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, is building a huge rocket named Starship to travel to the Moon, or even further to Mars. He aims to make humanity a ‘multi-planet species’.

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