Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, the US space exploration technology company, is set to embark on the biggest test of its space venture in nearly two decades, putting humans into orbit,media reported. The company’s manned Dragon spacecraft will lift off on May 27, local time, to send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
There are many milestones in the history of human spaceflight, such as Yuri Gagarin’s entry into Earth orbit in 1961 and The moon in 1969. While SpaceX’s upcoming manned launch may not be comparable to those achievements, it will mark the first time a private spacecraft has put humans into orbit. It is also the first time an astronaut has taken off from the U.S. mainland since the shuttle was retired in 2011.
“It’s definitely the first and epic moment that we’ve never had anyone go into space on a commercial spacecraft,” said Luigi Peluso, an aerospace analyst at AlixPartners. Going into space is still very dangerous, especially when it comes to manned launches, and the difficulty is exponential. This includes not only bringing them safely to their space destinations, but also bringing them back. “
Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. NASA has always been a key partner and customer, and SpaceX’s cargo ships have regularly supplied their space station astronauts with supplies. In 2014, NASA awarded SpaceX and Boeing a total of $6.8 billion in contracts to restore the ability to launch astronauts on u.S. soil.
SpaceX is ahead of Boeing’s effort to break the finish line, which will spur its transformation from space upstart to giant. “This is an absolute disgrace to Boeing and a devastating blow to its engineering capabilities and reputation,” said George Ferguson, an analyst at Bloomberg’ industry research firm. “
SpaceX’s launch will usher in a new era of commercial space flight. “This is a real breakthrough in space,” said Lori Garver, a former NASA deputy director. The project has been in the works for a decade, and the keys to your near-Earth orbit have been handed over to the private sector, giving NASA the freedom to do other things. Eventually, paying visitors will be able to travel through space. “