SpaceX’s first flight lifts off today—and so does the competitive space industry. Here’s what you need to know

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is to launch its first crewed flight since the company was founded in 2002, transporting two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

America is getting ready to send astronauts back into space, on space craft made in the USA. On May 27 at 4:33 pm ET, Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp plans to launch its first crewed flight since the company was founded in 2002, transporting two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Key Coverage

By The Numbers

  • $3.1B Amount NASA has awarded to SpaceX for development of the Dragon capsule. 
  • 20 Resupply cargo missions SpaceX has flown to the International Space Station 
  • 2 Number of astronauts flying on this mission; the two, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will join three others already on the orbiting lab, spending one to four months there. 

Why It Matters

The flight of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, an effort to restore the U.S.’s ability to send astronauts into orbit for the first time since the space shuttle program was ended in 2011. Since then, NASA has had to buy seats on Russia’s Soyuz rockets to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. The space agency chose SpaceX and Boeing Co. as the contractors for Commercial Crew. An unmanned Boeing test flight in December had a malfunction, delaying the aerospace giant’s efforts to launch its first mission with people.



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