SpaceX’s Successful Blast-Off Signals New Era of Human Space Exploration

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With a flash of light, billowing smoke, and a thunderous roar, American astronauts on Saturday afternoon blasted into space aboard an American spacecraft for the first time since NASA decommissioned the aging, unsafe Space Shuttle fleet in 2011. The first manned flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft not only restores the United States’ ability to launch people into orbit, it also signals a possible new era of space exploration. Thousands of people tuned into livestreams of the historic launch from NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center near Orlando. SpaceX founder Elon Musk, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and President Donald Trump flew in to see off astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley and observe the launch. “This is going to be like the World Series, the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup all rolled into one,” Zeb Scoville, NASA’s flight director, told reporters in the weeks leading up to the launch.Mission-controllers canceled a previous launch attempt on Wednesday owing to bad weather. As late as Saturday morning, SpaceX tweeted that there was a 50 percent chance of a storm interfering with the day’s lift-off. But the weather remained clear and the spacecraft lifted off just before 3:25 p.m. …

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