NASA, SpaceX to launch monumental astronaut mission

The newly designed spacecraft called the Crew Dragon capsule is set to depart on Sunday

Elon Musk, high-tech entrepreneur and owner of spacecraft manufacture and design company SpaceX, is set to send four astronauts to the International Space Station on Sunday.

According to Reuters, the mission, called Crew-1, is SpaceX’s first full-length mission for NASA that will send a crew into space on a privately owned spacecraft.

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The newly designed spacecraft called the Crew Dragon capsule is set to depart atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:27 p.m. ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center located in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

According to NASA, the launch was originally scheduled for Saturday but was postponed for a day due to weather conditions.

MSN reports that the mission with SpaceX will be the first of six the company has contracted with the space agency and mark the start of NASA’s commercial spaceflight program that’s 10 years in the making.

Reuters reports that U.S. astronauts often “hitch rides” into space with Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft which was a deciding factor in NASA contracting SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 – to wean dependence off of Russia.

Due to the delay, the ride to the orbiting space station will take 27 hours instead of eight-and-a-half. Once the astronauts have reached their destination, they’re expected to stay for six months.

If the team achieves this task, the mission will make history as the longest human spaceflight launched from the United States.

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NASA astronauts, vehicle pilot Victor Glover (front L), commander Mike Hopkins (front R), mission specialist Shannon Walker (rear L) and mission specialist from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), astronaut Soichi Noguchi (rear R) walk out of the Operations and Checkout Building November 15, 2020 on their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on November 15, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This will mark the second astronaut launch from U.S. soil by NASA and SpaceX and the first operational mission named Crew-1 to the International Space Station. (Photo by Red Huber/Getty Images)

Mike Hopkins, NASA astronauts and commander of the mission, said the team is confident and ready for the task at hand. Hopkins will also be assisted by fellow crew members consisting of fellow NASA astronauts Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

“We are ready for this launch. We are ready for the six months of work that is waiting for us on board the International Space Station, and we are ready for the return,” Hopkins told reporters on Monday.

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