SpaceX launched four astronauts on their journey to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. As it departed from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the company’s Falcon 9 rocket became the first privately owned and operated spacecraft to be certified by NASA for a flight into space.
SpaceX completed its first successful test flight with two astronauts on board back in May, marking the first launch from US soil since 2011. Sunday’s launch departed from the same iconic location that sent Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969. The passengers on board include NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker, and Victor Glover, as well as Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi.
The craft made contact on the ISS Monday night where the crew will stay for six months This historic collaboration between private companies and NASA marks the beginning of a new age of space exploration.
This week’s successful launch was not without challenges. SpaceX lost two of its Falcon 9 rockets in explosions during an unmanned experimental flight and while refueling. Nonetheless, the launch marks an exciting opportunity for further space research and exploration.