SpaceX Speeds Crew to ISS in First Trip on Used Capsule, Rocket

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “SpaceX Speeds Crew to ISS in First Trip on Used Capsule, Rocket” – below is their description.

    Four astronauts are cruising to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX capsule in the company’s first crewed trip with previously flown equipment.

    The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting lab early Saturday, slightly more than 23 hours after blasting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:49 a.m. U.S. East Coast time. The capsule was performing as expected in orbit Friday about 125 miles (201 kilometers) above Earth. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

    “We wish you a great mission,” SpaceX launch engineer Jack Healy told the crew minutes before liftoff. “Good luck and enjoy the ride.”

    The voyage on a capsule and rocket that have flown before marks another milestone for Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s success at pioneering reusability in the launch business. Founder Elon Musk has championed the goal of designing spacecraft for multiple missions as the only practical and economical method to lower launch costs and expand human exploration — specifically to Mars.

    “Flight-proven” rockets and capsules have demonstrated their ability, Musk said Thursday on a webcast with Peter Diamandis, creator of the XPrize Foundation and a fellow space enthusiast.

    “Do you want to be on the first flight of the airplane when it comes out of the factory or do you want to be on a later flight?” Musk said. “It should be, on balance, better” with each flight, he said.

    The Dragon capsule on Friday’s mission had already taken two astronauts to and from the space station last year on SpaceX’s first crewed test flight for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Falcon 9 rocket on the latest flight last flew in November to carry four astronauts to the space station for SpaceX’s first regular ferry trip for NASA, a mission known as Crew-1.

    On April 28, SpaceX is scheduled to bring back the four crewmembers from the November flight, with a splashdown off the Florida coast. The company’s next mission to the station is tentatively set for October.

    Last year, NASA agreed to allow its space station crew rotations to be conducted on previously flown equipment.

    Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s acting administrator, applauded the agency’s close partnership with SpaceX in recent years. Last week, the agency selected SpaceX to land astronauts on the moon as part of the Artemis program.

    The flight on Friday is “the third launch in less than a year after almost a 10-year gap in launching astronauts on U.S. rockets from U.S. soil,” he said after the launch.

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