Jakarta, CNN Indonesia - Four astronauts managed to glide to the international space station (ISS) using the SpaceX Crew Dragon "Resilience".
The launch took place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States, Sunday (15/11), 19:27 local time. The launch is expected to become a routine mission for astronauts to fly on US soil. The reason is, in the last ten years, the US has always "hitched a ride" on Russian rockets and runways to launch astronauts to the ISS.
The four people who were launched into the space station are Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker who are US citizens. One other person is Soichi Noguchi, a Japanese citizen.
The capsule is said to have successfully separated from the second stage rocket. In addition, according to a member of the SpaceX team who spoke over the radio, it has achieved "nominal orbital insertion". As such, the capsule is already on the right track towards the ISS.
The crew will reach the ISS at 11:00 PM Monday evening local time or Tuesday morning at 11:00 WIB. They will travel 27 hours in orbit, CNN reports.
Actually this trip could be shorter if the launch was carried out according to schedule on Saturday. At that time, the ISS was in the shortest distance from the launch site, so the astronauts could arrive in just 8 hours. However, bad weather due to hurricane ETA delayed the launch schedule.
The four crew members will be joined by two Russian cosmonauts and one US astronaut. They will stay for six weeks on the ISS.
Earlier in May, SpaceX managed to bring astronauts to the ISS and land them safely back to Earth. This marks the development of the US to fly back its own astronauts.
However, NASA said this success did not mean their cooperation with Russia had stopped.
"We want to do a seat swap where American astronauts can fly on Russian Soyuz rockets and Russian cosmonauts can fly in commercial crew vehicles," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine explained, as quoted by Science Alert.
Last week the Dragon Crew became the first spacecraft to receive NASA certification. Previously, this certification was awarded to the Space Shuttle 40 years ago.
The Crew Dragon is a capsule similar to the Space Shuttle and launched using a reusable SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. When it lands on Earth, this capsule will develop a parachute and land on the water, just like in the Apollo era.
NASA shifted its space project to SpaceX and Boeing after closing their Space Shuttle program. The program closed in 2011 after failing to make space mission travel affordable and safe.
NASA shifted the launch project in low orbit Bmi to private parties because they will focus on projects to the Moon and Mars. The agency has already spent US $ 8 billion on the Commercial Crew project for 2024.
SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. The company managed to outperform its seniors, Boeing, which failed to launch their Starliner drone into orbit.