For the first time in history, NASA astronauts launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft to the space station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley launched May 31 on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They returned to Earth and splashed down in the Dragon Endeavor capsule on Sunday, Aug. 2, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
Known as NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, the mission is an end-to-end test flight to validate the SpaceX crew transportation system, including launch, in-orbit, docking and landing operations. The program demonstrates NASA’s commitment to investing in commercial companies through public-private partnerships and builds on the success of American companies, including SpaceX, already delivering cargo to the space station. Boeing will also complete an uncrewed flight test followed by a crewed flight test for certification to fly NASA astronauts to the space station.