Elon Musk’s company came within 17 minutes Wednesday of launching a pair of NASA astronauts for the first time in nearly a decade from the US, before the threat of lightning forced a delay.
Two NASA astronauts gearing up to ride SpaceX's new space taxi will now be on a mission planned to last more than a month, instead of a week, to help the short-handed crew aboard the ISS, the US space agency said.
The Falcon rocket blasted off with 1,950 kg of equipment and experiments for the International Space Station. Just minutes later, the spent first-stage booster made a dramatic midnight landing back at Cape Canaveral.
To prove it is safe for astronauts, the company tested its Crew Dragon capsule’s rescue system.
The CST-100 Starliner astronaut capsule was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but an automated timer error prevented the spacecraft from attaining the orbit.
The Elon Musk founded company is using the flight as a test, before it plans to put two astronauts on board later this year.
The 585-kilogram Beresheet, which means 'Genesis' in Hebrew, lifted off at 8:45 pm (0145 GMT Friday) atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX company of entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Falcon 9 rocket launched by billionaire Elon Musk's company carries US Air Force's most powerful GPS satellite ever built, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Parker Solar Probe will fly straight through the outer solar atmosphere to eventually get within 6 million miles of the sun's surface, allowing scientists to vicariously explore the sun in a way never before possible.
The rocket is designed to require far less maintenance and refurbishment between flights, and is certified to carry humans to space later this year when SpaceX launches its Dragon crew capsule to the International Space Station.
The effort is part of SpaceX's push to make spaceflight cheaper by re-using costly rocket and spaceship components after each launch.
There were no injuries nor any threat to the public reported after the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida during a test.
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