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Things We Saw Today: SpaceX Launches the Crew Dragon into Orbit

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spacex launch

This afternoon, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft successfully launched two astronauts into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch marks the first time in nearly a decade that NASA has launched astronauts into space from from U.S. soil. After the space shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA has used Russian rockets launched from Kazakhstan to transport U.S. astronauts to the international space station.

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The successful launch is a historic event for many reasons. It’s the first ever crewed mission for SpaceX, and it marks the first time that a privately developed spacecraft has launched humans into orbit. It is the first step in an epic journey that will eventually (maybe) lead to commercial space travel.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “Maybe there’s an opportunity here for America to maybe pause and look up and see a bright, shining moment of hope at what the future looks like, that the United States of America can do extraordinary things even in difficult times.”

The launch, which was originally scheduled for earlier this week, was delayed due to bad weather. Aboard the Dragon capsule are NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The capsule is expected to dock at the International Space Station at 10:27 am ET Sunday morning.

(via CNN, image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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