SpaceX launched four astronauts on the International Space Station. Elon Musk himself has yet to isolate himself because he has the Corona virus, so he can’t closely monitor this launch.
This is NASA’s first full-time taxi flight for an astronaut, performed by a private company called SpaceX.
Reported by the Associated Press (AP), on Monday (11/16/2020), the Falcon rockets thundered on Sunday (11/15) evening local time. The launch location is at the Kennedy Space Center.
The four astronauts are made up of three Americans and one Japanese. They were launched by SpaceX. The Dragon Capsule on top was dubbed ‘Resilience’ by the crew considering the many challenges this year, most notably COVID-19.
Resilience will reach the space station on Monday (11/16) night and will remain there until spring.
Due to COVID-19, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk was forced to monitor remotely. He tweeted that “most likely” he had a case of COVID-19. NASA policy at the Kennedy Space Center requires anyone who tested positive for the Coronavirus to be quarantined and isolated.
The launch on Sunday (11/15) took place a few months after the flight test of two SpaceX pilots. NASA hopes it will be a long series of crew rotations between the US and the space station after years of delays. More people means more scientific research in the orbiting lab, officials say.
“This is another historic moment,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Friday. But he noted: “Make no mistake: vigilance is required on every flight.”
Additionally, the launch enforces the protocol to prevent COVID-19: