SpaceX Crew Dragon launches first operational flight to ISS

It looked like the sun rising above the clouds against a backdrop of a clear night sky.

In reality, the large column of light that rose above the Atlantic Ocean Sunday evening was the historic launch of the crewed SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Atop the rocket was the Crew Dragon capsule named Resilience.

The capsule carried four astronauts including Victor Glover – the first Black astronaut who will live on the International Space Station for a six-month science mission.

The journey to the space station was expected to take 27 hours.

The Crew-1 astronauts are Crew Dragon Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover, Mission Specialist Shannon Walker, all of NASA, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi.


Several hundred people gathered at Melbourne Beach to watch the launch. Some residents grabbed pizza at The Original Bizzarro Famous New York Pizza, then walked to the beach and looked to the northwest for any sign of the rocket.

The buzz among the crowd became silent at 7:27 p.m. as a huge ball of light illuminated the northern night sky.

The glow from the rocket spread across the horizon. The sound of rumbling from the launch could be heard minutes later.

Chants of “USA” could be heard among the crowd.

This was SpaceX Crew Dragon’s first operational space flight, and second flight overall. In May, a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launched astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

The May launch was considered the first crewed space launch by a private company. Before that, the last crewed flight from American soil was in 2011 at the end of the space shuttle program.

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