Everyone is getting excited about SpaceX's successful launch on 30 May.
Americans and many others around the world are closely following Bob Behnken
and Doughlas Hurley
, the two astronauts on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, as they attempt to complete the trip.
As we wait for their return, here's what you need to know about this special mission.
Before you learn about the trip, you should understand the origin of the company.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX
, is a private company owned by billionaire Elon Musk and was founded on 6 May 2002.
It's main goal is to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonisation of Mars.
(Yup, you read that right! They have got big dreams!)
With the successful launch, SpaceX will go into the history books as the first private company to put a human into orbit.
Yeah! That's a HUGE deal.
It has never been done before. In fact, according to Business Insider, this trip is also a big leap for America as the last time they launched American astronauts from the US was in 2011.
Interestingly, the US astronauts have been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to bring their astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
What do Russia get in return? Money!
It cost America US$21mil (RM91mil) per seat in 2008 and more than US$90mil (RM388mil) per seat for a Soyuz flight scheduled for October.
What is Crew Dragon's mission?
The two astronauts on board SpaceX's Crew Dragon are there to basically "test waters".
The spacecraft is supposed to bring Behnken and Hurley into space and dock at the International Space Station (which they successfully did on Sunday).
There, the two will join members of the Expedition 63 Crew and will perform tests on the Crew Dragon and conduct research before returning to earth.
According to a report by The Verge
, a successful return could be the deciding factor on if Crew Dragon will be able to regularly transport NASA astronauts to the ISS in the future.
Fun fact: Crew Dragon spent 19 hours chasing the ISS at speeds of up to 28,000km/h before finally alligning and docking on it.
When do they return?
According to a report by The Indian Express
, the mission is expected to last 30 to 90 days.
Returning will be as critical as the take off.
When re-entering, the craft will be travelling up to 25 times the speed of sound.
It will also have to withstand temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun.
Once it overcomes the hot temperatures, four parachutes will be deployed and the capsule will land in the Atlantic Ocean.
A recovery ship will then greet the astronauts and bring them home.
If all is well, what's in store for the future?
If the mission is a success, SpaceX's goal is to land the first humans on Mars by 2024.
In an interview with Ars Technica in 2019, Elon Musk was quoted as saying that it would take 1,000 spaceships and “a million tons” of vitamin C to make life on Mars sustainable.
He said that order to live on Mars, humans would have to build a self-sustaining city.
We're pretty sure a lot of people laughed at this idea then but it's 2020 and SpaceX has taken their first step towards that direction.
The possibilities are endless!