NASA and SpaceX have teamed up to put American astronauts into space from American soil on an American rocket for the first time in nine years, today, Saturday, May 30, 2020.
The rocket, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, marked the first launch from Kennedy Space Center since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.
In a SpaceX Falcon 9 and with Hurley’s words “Let’s Light This Candle,” the spacecraft containing precious cargo lifted off from historic Launch Pad 39A ushering in a new era of private-public space partnerships.
The Crew Dragon is expected to dock with the International Space Station on Sunday at 10:27 AM Eastern time.
“I was praying for Bob anad Doug,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine “Times are tough right now… But I hope this moment in time is an opportunity to reflect on humanity.” Bridenstine also thanked his predecessor Charles Bolden.
“Hello NASA, hello SpaceX and hello America’s future in space,” said Vice President Mike Pence, Chairman of the National Space Council. “And hello to the incredible man and women of SpaceX on the day we made history on the day Americans returned to space on an American rocket from American soil for the first time in nearly 10 years, you did it.
“For too long the American space program was ignored, under president Donald Trump, NASA is back and America is leading in space again,” Pence said. “Today under President Trump, we begin a new mission to return to the moon and ultimately land American astronauts on the face of Mars.”
Pence also called for the country to honor the legacy of slain victim George Floyd and called for the country to come together during the COVID Pandemic.
Regarding space, Pence said it was with extraordinary vision that Elon Musk leads the people of SpaceX.
President Trump opened his remarks by discussing the death of Floyd and thanked the people of NASA, SpaceX and SpaceX CEO and Chief Engineer Elon Musk.
“The death of George Floyd was a grave tragedy it should never have happened,” Trump said. “It has filled Americans with horror anger and grief. I stand beside you as an ally for every American seeking justice and peace. … Right now America needs creation not destruction.
“When Americans are united there is nothing we cannot do,” Trump said. “I am delighted to be with you at Cape Canaveral at the home of American aspiration and drive. I am thrilled to announce the Dragon Capsule has reached low earth orbit and our astronauts are safe and sound. With this launch the decades of little action are over and an age of American ambition has begun.”
The Falco 9 made a successful landing back on Earth