On Saturday, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley succeeded in being the first American astronauts to launch from American soil on an American rocket since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Earlier in the week SpaceX, in partnership with NASA, were within minutes of lifting off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, but unsatisfactory weather conditions caused a launch abort with a little more than 16 minutes left in the countdown.
Once the Falcon 9 and its crew achieved low earth orbit on Saturday, it was on to meet up with the International Space Station, a 19-hour trek which ended at 12:16pm Sunday afternoon when the SpaceX Crew Dragon soft-docked with the ISS, 15 minutes early, and about 200 miles above Earth over China.
After numerous tests and extensive precautions, the hatch to the station opened at 1:02 p.m. EDT where American astronaut Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts welcomed Behnken and Hurley. The entire ISS team then posed for photos and a short press conference.
The astronauts will stay and work on the ISS between one and four months, depending on the prep and final date of the next manned SpaceX launch, which is currently targeted for August.
From Positively Osceola, congrats to SpaceX, NASA and to all involved with this great American achievement.