Webdesk : For the third time, astronauts hitched a ride successfully on a private rocket to space.
The launch was scheduled for Friday at 5:49 a.m. Eastern time from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Both NASA and SpaceX are offering marathon live video coverage of the mission from the astronauts’ suiting up through the moment they launch.
This is the latest mission for NASA by SpaceX, the rocket company started and run by Elon Musk. It is carrying two American, one Japanese and one French astronaut to the International Space Station. That will be a continuation of a successful effort by the space agency to turn over to the private sector the business of taking people to low-Earth orbit.
SpaceX conducted a demonstration mission with two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, a year ago. The two men then splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean in August. They traveled in the same capsule, named Endeavour, that will fly on Friday.
Months later, SpaceX conducted what NASA called the first routine operational missions for the Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts onboard. That mission, Crew-1, launched in November, and the astronauts are still aboard the station.
Now comes the second operational mission, known as Crew-2.