SpaceX, in collaboration with NASA, launched a crew of astronauts to the International Space Station on Friday morning — the first time a Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket were reused for a commercial crew mission.
The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:49 a.m. EDT. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet are part of the six-month Crew-2 mission.
The Falcon 9 previously launched the Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station in November, while the Dragon spacecraft flew two NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station during SpaceX’s Demo-2 mission in May. Crew-1 astronauts will spend about five days together with Crew-2 before returning to Earth.
The Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return after an approximate six-month stay on the ISS. NASA has launched three crewed missions to the space station within the last year.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of advancing human spaceflight and looking forward to going beyond Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars and helping make humanity a space-faring civilization and a multi-planet species one day,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a press release.
— NASA (@NASA) April 23, 2021
NASA and SpaceX plan to collaborate again for an upcoming mission to the moon. Earlier this week, SpaceX won a $2 billion USD contract with the space agency to fund the mission.