Monday, June 1, 2020

SpaceX launches first crewed mission from U.S. soil since 2011

I've been looking for good news to post this week, what with 100,000 dead and 40 million unemployed in the U.S., many stores closing for good even as the economy reopens, and nation-wide protests with police attacks on the press. After all, I can't be all DOOM all the time! Well, I have just the news item from Verge Science: SpaceX just launched humans to space for the first time.

Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, just successfully launched its first two people into orbit, ushering in a new age of human spaceflight in the United States. SpaceX is now the first company to send passengers to orbit on a privately made vehicle, and the flight marked the first time astronauts have launched into orbit from American soil in nearly a decade.
That was the launch. The important part of the mission so far was getting the crew to the ISS. Bloomberg Quick Take News showed that in Two Astronauts Welcomed Aboard International Space Station After Historic SpaceX Launch.

"And with that, Endeavor, welcome to the International Space Station, please come aboard."

@Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken board the @Space_Station after their historic @SpaceX launch, the 1st American-manned mission since 2011.
As both Verge Science and Bloomberg noted, Americans going to space from American soil on an American rocket hasn't happened for nine years, when I posted The end of an era: last space shuttle mission. The occasion made me sad and worried, a pair of emotions that reappeared when I wrote Endeavour's last flight and other space and astronomy news.
This completes the previous chapter in human space flight by the U.S. May there be another one so that our society does not act out the tragic science fiction plot of losing the ability to travel to space as a sign of a declining technological civilization.
Even before I posted that, the first glimmer of hope for a return to space appeared in Space and astronomy stories for the week of Memorial Day where I reported on Dragon's first cargo mission to the ISS. My hope became more real two years ago.
I've been waiting for this news since July 2011, which was the end of an era, the last space shuttle mission. If all goes well, I'll be able to report that the United States once again has a crewed space capacity after eight long years of depending on Russia at the next National Moon Day. Yay!
The day has finally come. YAY! I feel much better.

Stay tuned for another happy and slightly escapist entry tomorrow, which I previewed in Marching music for the Hawaii Democratic Primary.
This series will return on June 2, 2020, when the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota will hold their presidential nominating primaries for a final mini-Super Tuesday. Watch for the Pennsylvania drum corps, if nothing else.

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