Wed, 15 Jul 2020

NASA Postpones 1st Commercial Space Flight

Voice of America
28 May 2020, 19:05 GMT+10

NASA postponed Wednesday's scheduled launch of a Space X rocket ship, the first manned commercial space flight in history.

NASA canceled the launch 16 minutes before takeoff because of the threat of lightning near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA will try again Saturday to send the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The launch will be the first time since the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011 that Americans will fly into space from U.S. soil. Astronauts have been using Russian Soyuz spacecraft to travel to the space station.

Led by veteran NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, the flight marks a new era in piloted space flight.

Space X will join Gemini, Apollo and the space shuttle in space aviation history. The difference is that those rockets were built by U.S. government contractors.

Space X was built by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and is the first time any space agency anywhere in the world used a private commercial company to fly humans into space.

"We're doing it differently than we've ever done it before," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said. "We're transforming how we do space flight in the future."

Speaking on NASA's livestream, Musk said, "This is a dream come true, I think for me and everyone at SpaceX. This is not something I ever thought would happen. When starting SpaceX in 2002, I really did not think this day would occur."

NASA's aim is to have a cost-effective and safe system to send crews to space. Boeing also has a spacecraft in the testing phase for crewed missions. For cargo deliveries, both SpaceX and Northrop Grumman have sent multiple spacecraft to the ISS in recent years.

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