Washington- The updates says NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) awarded SpaceX led by one of the billionaires Elon Musk a $2.9 billion contract to build a spacecraft for bringing astronauts to the Moon most probably by 2024.
With this new contract cum deal NASA has moved ahead with SpaceX over Blue Origin owned by Jeff Bezos and defense contractor Dynetics Inc.
Moreover, NASA and SpaceX launched 4 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), the 3rd crewed mission of the US commercial rocket company in less than a year.
Currently, updates say the Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying 4 astronauts from 3 countries have safely reached orbit a few minutes after the liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 5.49 a.m. (eastern daylight time 0949 GMT). Moreover, according to NASA’s Twitter. Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, April 24.
This is the first time that Elon Musk’s SpaceX reused a capsule and a rocket to launch astronauts to the Moon. but it is due to arrive at the ISS early Saturday following a flight of over 23 hours.
This new team is comprised of 4 members which involve US astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, France’s Thomas Pesquet, and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide.
NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said- It has been an incredible year for NASA and our Commercial Crew Program, with 3 crewed launches to the space station since May 2020.
He also added- this is another crucial milestone for space X NASA and other international partners namely ESA (European Space Agency), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and for the future of scientific research on-board the space station. It will be an exciting moment to see our crews greet one another for our first crew handover under the Commercial Crew Program.
The commands will be controlled from the center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams will monitor all the operations throughout the flight from the mission control center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Out of 6 crewed missions, the crew 2 mission is the second one which will fly as part of the agency’s commercial crew program on behalf of NASA and SpaceX.
After this, the crew 2 team will conduct a science and maintenance program during a six-month stay abroad the orbiting laboratory and will return no earlier than October 31 stated by NASA.