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SpaceX Launches Astronauts into ISS

News Link: SpaceX Launches Astronauts into ISS

Four astronauts were successfully launched on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience to the International Space Station on Sunday. The first of what the US hopes will be many routine missions following a successful test flight in late spring.

Three Americans, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi blasted off at 7:27pm from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Here ending almost a decade of international reliance on Russia for rides on its Soyuz rockets.

The crew will dock at their destination at around 11:00 pm Monday night joining two Russians and one American onboard the station, and stay for six months.

In May, SpaceX completed a demonstration mission showing it could take astronauts to the ISS and bring them back safely, a landmark development allowing the US to begin travelling to the space station under its own power once more.

The Crew Dragon earlier this week became the first spacecraft to be certified by NASA since the Space Shuttle nearly 40 years ago.

It is a capsule, similar in shape to the spacecraft that preceded Space Shuttle, and its launch vehicle is a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

At the end of its missions, the Crew Dragon deploys parachutes and then splashes down in water, just as in the Apollo era.

NASA turned to SpaceX and Boeing after shuttering the checkered Space Shuttle programme in 2011.which was failed in its main objectives of making space travel affordable and safe.

The agency will have spent more than $8 billion (roughly Rs. 59,600 crores) on the Commercial Crew program by 2024. With the hope that the private sector can take care of NASA‘s needs in “low Earth orbit” so it is freed up to focus on return missions to the Moon and then on to Mars.

SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has leapfrogged its much older rival Boeing. Whose programme has floundered after a failed test of its uncrewed Starliner last year.

The reality, however, is that space ties between the US and Russia, one of the few bright spots in their bilateral relations, have frayed in recent years, and much remains uncertain.

Russia has said it won’t be a partner in the Artemis program to return to the Moon in 2024, claiming the NASA-led mission is too US-centric.

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency has also repeatedly mocked SpaceX’s technology. This summer announced Roscosmos would build rockets that surpass Musk’s.

He told a state news agency he is unimpressed with the Crew Dragon’s water landing. Calling it “rather rough” and saying his agency was developing a methane rocket that will be reusable 100 times.

SpaceX’s emergence has also deprived Roscosmos of a valuable income stream.

The cost of round-trips on Russian rockets had been rising and stood at around $85 million (roughly Rs. 600 crores) per astronaut, according to estimates last year.

Compiled by – MK (Editor)

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News Link: SpaceX Launches Astronauts into ISS

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