US space entity NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has announced that a four-person crew arrived at the International Space Station on Mr. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour, becoming the first crew to be powered into orbit by a rocket booster recycled from a previous spaceflight.
The Endeavour capsule was launched into space for the second time last day atop of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA said in a mission update that the Endevour was traveling 264 miles (425 kilometers) over the Indian Ocean.
Two NASA astronauts were onboard, Mission Commander Mr. Shane Kimbrough, and pilot Mr. Megan McArthur, along with Japanese astronaut Mr. Akihiko Hoshide, and fellow mission specialist Mr. Thomas Pesquet, a French engineer from the European Space Agency.
The project marks NASA’s second “operational” space station team launched aboard a Crew Dragon capsule since human spaceflights resumed from American soil last year following a nine-year hiatus.
It’s also the third crewed flight into orbit in 11 months as part of NASA’s fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX, a rocket company established in 2002 by Mr. Musk who is also the CEO of electric carmaker Tesla.
The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off with the same first-stage booster that lofted a crew into orbit five months ago, marking the first time a previously flown booster has been used in a crewed launch.
Reusable booster vehicles are at the core of a re-usable rocket strategy that SpaceX helped pioneer to make spaceflight more affordable. They are designed to fly back to Earth and land safely rather than falling into the sea after launch.