“Exploration is wired into our brains,” said Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two men to land on the moon (following Neil Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind”). 2018 was the 60th anniversary of NASA, and there are plenty of videos like the one linked above to review the space agency’s remarkable history. To think that in one decade, America went from launching unmanned satellites to placing a men on the moon!
And, the history of space exploration continues, as this afternoon NASA will join a private venture, SpaceX (Elon Musk’s project), sending two veteran astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, into orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). Once the flight capsule, known as Crew Dragon, has docked with the ISS, Behnken and Hurley will spend two months or so working in space (return flight has not been determined), alongside their Russian colleagues.
The last flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle was on July 8, 2011, after which U.S. astronauts had to hitch a ride aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule to get to the ISS—at a whopping $80 million a seat! If the commercial Space X program is successful, it will provide a more cost-efficient means of maintaining its presence on the ISS and expanding its plans for future space programs.
Launch time is 4:33PM EST, so be sure to clock out and click over to NASA’s live stream for a historic flight from Cape Canaveral!