Elon Musk said he was ‘overcome with emotion’ after two NASA astronauts were blasted into space in the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center yesterday.
Astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, took off from Launch Complex 39A at 3.22pm in Florida on Saturday – the first time an American crew launched from US soil in nine years.
The pair are on their way to the International Space Station in a rocket and capsule built by the billionaire entrepreneur’s firm SpaceX.
The capsule containing the astronauts will break off from Falcon 9 once it reaches orbit.
Mr Musk – who’s son X Æ A-Xii was born earlier this month – said: ‘I think this is something that should really get people right in the heart – anyone who has a spirit of exploration.’
Elon Musk said he was ‘overcome with emotion’ after two NASA astronauts were blasted into space in the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida yesterday
There was a 50 percent chance Falcon 9 (pictured) would not take off yesterday due to ominous clouds and lightning risks, but the weather cleared with just 45 minutes left on the clock countdown
Mr Musk – who’s son X Æ A-Xii was born earlier this month – said: ‘I think this is something that should really get people right in the heart – anyone who has a spirit of exploration’
Speaking yesterday, Mr Musk (pictured celebrating) said the mission is the ‘first step on a journey that would see humans become a multi-planetary species’
Astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, (left) and Douglas Hurley, 53, (right) took off from Launch Complex 39A at 3.22pm in Florida on Saturday – the first time an American crew launched from US soil in nine years
he Launch America mission is also the first time a private company has put astronauts into space and is the second attempt to launch after Wednesday’s flight was aborted due to poor weather conditions. Pictured: The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
He added: ‘I am really quite overcome with emotion – it’s kind of hard to talk really. It’s been 18 years working towards this goal. It’s really hard to believe that it’s happened.
‘This is a craft made by humans, for humans, I think it’s something humanity should be proud about occurring on this day.’
Mr Musk said the mission is the ‘first step on a journey that would see humans become a multi-planetary species’.
But despite the successful launch of astronauts into low-Earth orbit, Mr Musk said was was not keen to ‘declare victory yet’, emphasising that the ‘return can be more dangerous than the ascent’.
He added: ‘We need to bring them home safely and make sure that we are doing everything we can to minimise that risk of reentry.’
He previously said he would accept absolute responsibility if yesterday’s historic launch of his Falcon 9 rocket ended in tragedy.
Spectators watched the Falcon 9 rocket take off from Kennedy Space Center from a nearby beach in Florida
Amazed spectators watched as SpaceX Falcon 9 was blasted off into space yesterday. The launch was the first time an American crew launched from US soil in nine years
Amazed spectators couldn’t believe what they were witnessing as the Falcon 9 rocket was launched into space yesterday
A woman showed a young boy the rocket as it made its way through the sky. The astronauts are heading to the International Space Station
Spectators watch from a bridge in Titusville, Florida as the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule
Spectators gathered on a bridge in Titusville as the rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral
People had their cellphones at the ready to record the moment for themselves and watch later on after it was all over
For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company
Beachgoers view the SpaceX shuttle launch in Cocoa Beach on Saturday afternoon far away from the more crowded parts
President Donald Trump speaks inside the the Vehicle Assembly Building after the manned SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center
It will take Mr Behnken and Mr Hurley around 19 hours to reach the space station, where they will join the three other residents – Nasa’s Chris Cassidy and Russia’s Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner. Together, they will become members of the Expedition 63 crew.
Before yesterday’s liftoff, commander Hurley said: ‘Let’s light this candle.’
There was a 50 percent chance Falcon 9 would not take off yesterday due to ominous clouds and lightning risks, but the weather cleared with just 45 minutes left on the clock countdown.
The Launch America mission is also the first time a private company has put astronauts into space and is the second attempt to launch after Wednesday’s flight was aborted due to poor weather conditions.
After reaching orbit, Falcon 9 successfully returned to Earth and was retrieved by SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship ‘I Still Love You.’
The International Space Station (ISS) was previously only accessible to NASA astronauts through the purchase of seats on Russian capsules launched from Kazakhstan – but that has all changed as of yesterday.
While speaking at the Kennedy Space Center, Trump said that ‘the United States has regained our place of prestige as the world leader’
‘You can’t be number one on earth if you are number two in space and we are not going to be number two anywhere,’ he said
‘It’s incredible, the technology, the power. I’m so proud of the people at NASA, all the people that worked together, public and private. When you see a sight like that it’s incredible,’ Trump said
NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have officially brought spaceflight back to US with the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station
NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have officially brought spaceflight back to US soil
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference, ‘Maybe there´s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times.’
Among the spectators was Neil Wight, a machinist from Buffalo, New York, who staked out a view of the launch pad from a park in Titusville, Florida.
‘It’s pretty historically significant in my book and a lot of other people´s books. With everything that´s going on in this country right now, it´s important that we do things extraordinary in life,’ Wight said.
‘We’ve been bombarded with doom and gloom for the last six, eight weeks, whatever it is, and this is awesome. It brings a lot of people together.’
Crew Dragon should be in position to dock with the ISS about 24 hours after takeoff and will connect to the ship autonomously.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence watched the Falcon 9 rocket launch from afar
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station
Falcon 9 successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida Saturday, May 30
Falcon 9 took off at 3.22pm ET and took the nine minute trip into Earth’s orbit
The two men are scheduled to stay on the ISS for up to four months, after which they will come home with a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea.
‘I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t nervous,’ Bridenstine said before the launch attempt. ‘We want to do everything we can to minimize the risk, minimize the uncertainty, so that Bob and Doug will be safe.’
NASA urged people to stay safe and watch from home due to the coronavirus, and by NASA’s count, over 3 million viewers tuned in online.
However, spectators began lining the Cape Canaveral area´s beaches and roads with signs along the main beach drag that read ‘Godspeed.’
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence returned to Kennedy Space Center to watch the second attempt of Launch America.
‘That was a beautiful sight to see and I hope you all enjoyed it,’ Trump said shortly after the rocket ship designed and built by Elon Musk´s SpaceX company lifted off for a trip to the International Space Station.
Astronaut Bob Behnek is pictured holding a toy dinosaur in his hand that belongs to one of his children
The Crew Dragon will now take the 19-hour journey to the International Space Station, where Behnken and Hurley will join Expedition 63 crew
There was a 50 percent chance Falcon 9 would not take off yesterday due to ominous clouds and lightning risks, but the weather cleared with just 45 minutes left on the clock countdown – and the astronauts are heading to the International Space Station
NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have officially brought spaceflight back to US with the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station.
Both NASA and SpaceX said they would be ‘proceeding with countdown’ despite a 50 percent ‘weather cancellation risk’ amid concerns over possible thunderstorms and rain around the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral early Saturday morning.
Bridenstine said during an afternoon briefing: ‘We are predicting a 50, 50 shot of going this time.’
‘But because we are in late May, we have to take any shot we can get.’
‘We almost made it on Wednesday and the trend is better today than it was on Wednesday.’
The biggest concern was lighting, precipitation, cumulus clouds and anvil clouds – all of which could ground Falcon 9 until Sunday.
However, about 45 minutes to launch, all requirements went from red to green and a SpaceX official said ‘weather is a go.’
The launch pad where Falcon 9 took off from is the same one used by NASA’s last space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley, in 2011.
Behnken and Hurley had a social distancing farewell with their families yesterday who met them outside of the Kennedy crew quarters before they took the journey to Launch Complex 39A.
Behnken (left) and Hurley (right) conduct a series of pre-flight checks in the Dragon Crew capsule
Behnken and Hurley were met by their wives and children before heading to Falcon 9, but had to keep with the social distance policy and were only able to send air hugs and blow kisses
This is the second time the astronauts have said farewell to their family. NASA and SpaceX were forced to abort Launch America Wednesday with less than 17 minutes on the countdown clock due to poor weather
Behnken and Hurley had to keep a distance from their families while saying goodbye before heading to Launch Complex 39A
After saying farewell, the pair loaded into a white Tesla Model X with bright blue NASA stickers on each of the doors and the ‘worm’ logo on the back windshield
Due to the policy, the team had to stand six-feet from their wives and children and say goodbye with air hugs.
Before saying goodbye, Behnken and Hurley suited up in the new spacesuits developed by Musk with the help of costume designer Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez, who has worked on ‘The Avengers’ and ‘X-Men’, revealed that Musk wanted the crew to look better in the suit than without it, ‘like a tux.’
‘Musk kept saying, anyone looks better in a tux, no matter what size or shape they are,’ he said in an interview with Bleep.
‘I personally spent a lot of time — it took us three, almost four years to design these suits that both look good and work well,’ Musk said during NASA’s live coverage of the launch attempt on Wednesday.
The launch pad is the same one used by NASA’s last space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley, in 2011. Since then, NASA astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. The crew is still pushing forward with plans and the astronauts are now fully dressed in the spacesuits developed by Musk with the help of costume designer Jose Fernandez with envisioning the prototype
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein paid the astronauts a visit in the crew quarters. Having to keep the social distancing policy, Bridenstein snapped a selfie to commemorate the mission dubbed Launch America
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein snapped ‘the perfect selfie’ in the Kennedy crew quarters with Benhken (back left) and Hurley (back right), who are all smiles ahead of the launch
The crew are dressed in spacesuits developed by Musk with the help of costume designer Jose Fernandez with envisioning the prototype. Behnken (left) flashes the camera smile while standing next to Hurley (right) in the crew quarters
The ground crew is running through a series of tests on that are designed to connect into the Dragon seats, which provides cool to the astronauts and communication to the crew. As it stands, the 24-storey-tall SpaceX Falcon 9 is due to lift off at 3.22pm Eastern Time, propelling astronauts Behnken and Hurley aloft on a 19-hour ride to the International Space Station
Doug Hurley (pictured) is suited up and ready to go for Launch America
Hurley and Behnken are wearing the new SpaceX suits that Elon Musk said he personally worked on for three to four years
‘You see the spacesuits in the movies — they look good, they don’t work well.’
‘You can make a spacesuit that works, but it doesn’t look good, because fundamentally it’s a pressure suit that has to survive in a vacuum.’
The suits were constructed in Hawthorne, California, which is the same facility where SpaceX keep its rockets.
They are custom-made for each passenger aboard Crew Dragon and designed to be functional, lightweight and to offer protection from potential depressurization.
For Musk, the launch represents another milestone for the reusable rockets his company pioneered to make spaceflight less costly and frequent.
Musk said on Wednesday he accepted absolute responsibility if yesterday’s historic launch of his Falcon 9 rocket ended in tragedy.
The biggest concern is lighting, precipitation, cumulus clouds and anvil clouds – all of which could ground Falcon 9 until Sunday. The first Falcon 9 rocket launch try on Wednesday was called off with less than 17 minutes on the countdown clock due to stormy weather
Dolphins swim in a lagoon near Launch Complex 39A at sunrise at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning. Elon Musk said they would be ‘proceeding with countdown’ despite a 50 per cent ‘weather cancellation risk’
The SpaceX suits have been jointly designed by a Hollywood costume designer and by Elon Musk himself
Spectators setup spots on the Florida beach to watch NASA and SpaceX make history. NASA had discouraged spectators from traveling to Florida to watch the launch, citing the coronavirus pandemic
The because in Florida are flooded with people who are enjoying the sun while they waited for the NASA-SpaceX launch
How SpaceX astronauts quarantined to keep coronavirus off the ISS
Pre-launch quarantine periods are standard procedure for any space flight.
Crew Dragon’s astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley went into quarantine on May 13 – two weeks ahead of their original scheduled liftoff. They were given the option to quarantine at home if members of their households would not be coming and going.
Behnken and Hurley stayed at their homes – because their families were already quarantining due to the pandemic – until they were required to report to the Kennedy Space Center on May 20, according to Space Flight Now.
Both astronauts got daily temperature checks in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s launch. Their interactions with others have been limited, and anyone who would have to come into contact with them also had to get a daily temperature check.
During training, staff had to stay six feet away from each astronaut and wore masks. Staff were also required to keep quarantine protocols, stay socially distanced and wear protective gear when they needed to closely interact with the astronauts and support crew.
Although the astronauts continued to have contact with one another, many of the training exercises that would normally come with hands-on instruction and adjustments were instead attended virtually by staff.
Mr Behnken and Mr Hurley have undergone at least two coronavirus tests.
Musk told CBS This Morning: ‘I’m the chief engineer of this thing so I’d just like to say that if it goes right, it’s credit to the SpaceX-NASA team. If it goes wrong, it’s my fault.’
Asked whether there was one thing about this afternoon’s launch that kept him up at night, he added: ‘There’s thousands of things that can go wrong and only one thing that can go right.’
The last time NASA launched astronauts into space aboard a brand new vehicle was 40 years ago at the start of the shuttle program.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited the Kennedy Space Center three days ago for the first launch attempt and returned on Saturday.
Musk, the South African-born high-tech entrepreneur who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, is also the chief executive of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc.
He founded Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, in 2002.
Aerospace giant Boeing Co, producing its own launch system in competition with SpaceX, is expected to fly its CST-100 Starliner vehicle with astronauts aboard for the first time next year.
NASA has awarded nearly $8billion to SpaceX and Boeing combined for development of their rival rockets.
Wednesday’s launch was cancelled with less than 17 minutes remaining on the countdown clock as bad weather meant the launch had to be delayed by a few seconds around the Kennedy Space Center.
Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX tweeted the above yesterday as it prepares to send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket from Florida – marking the company’s first mission carrying humans aboard
Elon Musk said yesterday they would be ‘proceeding with countdown’ despite a 50 per cent ‘weather cancellation risk’
This meant it would have missed its trajectory for arrival at the fast-moving ISS. NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley were strapped in and ready to go when it was cancelled.
SpaceX said in a Tweet: ‘Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path. Our next launch opportunity is Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC.’
NASA astronaut Bob Behnken waves to the crowd as he and fellow crew member Doug Hurley ride back from Launch Complex 39A after the mission was postponed Wednesday due to bad weather
The SpaceX suits have been jointly designed by a Hollywood costume designer and by Musk himself (pictured: Matt Damon in 2015’s The Martian; and NASA astronaut Bob Behnken wearing the SpaceX suit, right)
Hurley said: ‘We could see some raindrops on the windows and just figured that whatever it was, was too close to the launch pad at the time we needed it not to be.
‘Understand that everybody´s probably a little bit bummed out. That´s just part of the deal. … We’ll do it again, I think, on Saturday.’
The SpaceX demo-2 mission will see the Falcon 9 rocket and attached Crew Dragon capsule shoot into space as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
If successful, it will pave the way for future partnerships between NASA and commercial companies, and a new age of space travel.
The mission was cancelled as Storm Bertha rolled into the area of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Pictured above is the rocket on Wednesday moments before the launch was cancelled
SpaceX founder Elon Musk (left) wearing a face mask with the SpaceX logo at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Wednesday
The launchpad at Cape Canaveral in Florida is pictured above last Saturday. The rocket will lift off 8.22pm UK time
The Falcon 9 will take off from Cape Canaveral on the other side of the Atlantic and be visible in the UK sky two hours later
SpaceX’s fourth Starship rocket prototype EXPLODES into a ball of flames following a pressurized test one day before their Falcon 9 rocket is set to blast off for the ISS
Elon Musk’s prototype space rocket exploded in a massive fireball before it left the ground last night.
The eccentric billionaire was testing his company SpaceX’s Starship rocket in Texas when the vehicle burst into flames after failing an engine test.
The explosion happened a few minutes after SpaceX ignited the vehicle’s engine which then became engulfed in flames. It could be seen in a live stream recorded by Nasa’s website. There was no indication of any injuries.
This was the fourth prototype of SpaceX’s next generation rocket which is part of Mr Musk’s ambitions to make human space travel affordable.
The company has lost three previous versions of the vehicle during pressurised tests that caused the space rockets to burst or implode.
It comes after SpaceX’s attempt to launch two Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station on Wednesday was called off due to bad weather.
The prototype Serial Number 4 vanished into a fireball at SpaceX’s Boca Chica site in Texas Friday shortly the engine was ignited for a pressurized test
This is the fourth Starship rocket that has been lost while testing – all of the the previous vessels also imploded during testing. It began smoking shortly after the test began
And in seconds was engulfed in a ball of flames. The SN4 had passed several important milestones during development, including a pressurization test that had foiled previous models