- SpaceX launched it's first crewed space mission named Demo-2 on Saturday with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
- The Crew Dragon spaceship, named Endeavour in orbit, reached the International Space Station (ISS) just after midnight on Monday the first of June AEST.
- Docking was a complete success and both astronauts are safely part of the ISS crew.
SpaceX officially launched two veteran astronauts into orbit from American soil on Sunday the 31st of May. A historic first for a private company and a launch not seen since 2011.
The SpaceX designed, NASA funded mission lifted off with almost perfect precision after a reschedule from late last week due to inclement weather.
SpaceX Falcon 9 booster rocket touched down on SpaceX's drone ship 'Of Course I Still Love You' minutes after sending the craft through our atmosphere. Making it the first successful ocean landing and the first to send a crewed spacecraft into space.
The Journey to the ISS
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken named the docking craft 'Endeavour' while approaching the ISS at over 26,000km/h, a homage to NASA's space shuttle endeavour - the first craft both astronauts ever flew on.
Demo-2 commander Hurley was quoted:
"I know most of you, at SpaceX especially, know it as Capsule 206, but I think all of us thought we can do a little better than that. so, without further ado, we would like to welcome you aboard capsule Endeavour"
"It means so much to us to carry on that name,"
Whilst making the transit to the $150 billion space laboratory, streamers noticed a stowaway within the cabin.
Many speculated the toy joined the ride as a memento for either astronaut's children. While true, the dinosaur served a purpose n the mission.
Toys have historically acted as 'zero-g indicators' in previous launches. Meaning when the toy begins to float, astronauts have reached zero gravity.
A dinosaur was chosen as both astronaut's sons love dinosaurs.
"That was a super cool thing for us to get a chance to do for both of our sons who I hope are super excited to see their toys floating around with us on board,"
said Behnken after the craft reached outer space. Luckily, the dinosaur followed safety protocol and wore his seatbelt, as all good boys do.
Elon Musk reassured both young boys:
"we've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back ok."
The Dunny Mystery
Several inquiries have been made to SpaceX and NASA about why the toilet is in such a precarious position in the AUD $4.621 billion-plus craft. Both parties have denied comment.
During a May 25 press briefing, Hans Koenigsmann - SpaceX's vice president of mission assurance - said: "I don't know the potty answer to the potty question, so I'm going to skip ahead".
Unknowingly, Mr Koenigsmann made the mystery all the saucier...
If we had to guess, SpaceX most likely didn't want to waste cabin space.
As the toilet isn't the conventional type we use on Earth (which has gravity), a series of tubes can be placed almost anywhere.
The Gentle Dock
As Endeavour reached the ISS, the ship stopped approximately 400 meters below and pulled up around 220 meters to meet the ISS, which is roughly the size of a football field. Behnken and Hurley controlled the craft for a brief spell to try our manoeuvrability before handing it back to the autopilot for docking.
Before docking just after midnight on Monday AEST, NASA mission control reminded both astronauts to perform two important tasks:
- Equip spacesuits in case of failure to dock and craft is compromised.
- Lock the toilet lid that for some reason is hovering over their heads.
Upon making contact with the ISS, Behnken and Hurley were greeted by the station's two Russian and one NASA inhabitants. The joint crews then held a traditional docking ceremony.
Behnken and Hurley have officially begun their stay that could stretch as long as 110 days until returning to Earth.
Musk's Emotional Milestone
Elon Musk was understandably overwhelmed. Especially after the initial launch was scrapped this past week.
"On Wednesday during the first countdown my adrenaline was at 100%, and when the launch was called off it went to 0%. I just basically collapsed and slept for the longest time I've slept in probably a year."
Musk then shared his feelings on the success of an incredible milestone.
"I'm really quite overcome with emotion on this day. It's kind of hard to talk frankly. I've spent 18 years working towards this goal, so it's hard to believe that it's happened. It's a little hard to process. I think at this point I haven't sorted out my emotions. This is hopefully the first step on a journey towards civilisation on Mars, of life becoming multiplanetary, a base on the moon and expanding beyond Earth"
Musk spoke about the difference in build up between aborted and successful launch.
"Oddly enough, today, I don't know, it felt like the fates were aligned and I didn't feel nervous. It felt like it was going to work."
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