Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship after a gap of nine years, gives American Astronauts an opportunity to return to orbit in their own craft. On Wednesday, May 27, SpaceX is set to achieve it’s goal since the past 18 years of launching humans to space. The launch of the billionaire’s vessel will be the first manned US flight since shuttle missions were shut down nine years ago.
In 2002, Elon Musk founded the company with his sights set on human spaceflight. Now in a matter of days, the Demo-2 mission will see the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida with two astronauts on board, NASA’s Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, for the first time.
American space programs have included; X-15 rocket plane (1959-1968), Project Mercury (1958-1963), Project Gemini(1961-1966), Apollo Program (1961-1972), skylab (1965-1979), Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (1972-1975), Space Shuttle Program (1972-2011), International Space Station (1993-present), Commercial Programs (2006-present), Constellation programs (2005-2009),Journey to Mars (2010-2017), Artemis Program (2017-present)
This will indeed be a great moment for America as the country enters a new stage in its space programme. Crewed spaceflights into low Earth orbit will now be taken over by private businesses which have already been ferrying supplies to the space station. To date, only the governments of America, Russia and China have been able to mount manned space programmes.
To realise this project, NASA disbursed $2.6 billion and Boeing $4.2 billion to SpaceX for its spacecraft. However, the cost-savings for NASA compared to developing their own similar spacecraft and rocket is estimated to be in the tens of billions.