Humans have always been fascinated by what lies beyond the horizon so much so that organizations and people have dedicated themselves to exploring space.
On April 12th, 1961, Yuri Gagarin made a 108-minute orbital flight in the Vostok 1 spacecraft, making him the first human in outer space.
Now, 60 years after Yuri visited space, the trajectory of space exploration is finally changing and widening. And we have space travel visionary, Elon Musk and his company SpaceX to thank.
On May 30th, 2020, NASA and SpaceX made history by launching to the first commercially built spacecraft in America to space. The spacecraft, SpaceX Crew Dragon, built by Elon Musk’s company, has set the wheels in motion to expand human exploration to space.
As defining as this moment was for the United States, it was more so for Space X. As of May 30th, 2020, SpaceX became the first and only commercial organization to send humans successfully into space.
According to NASA and Musk, this is only the beginning of more human exploration to space. To further embolden NASA, the Space X Crew Dragon has splashed down in Florida on August 2nd, rounding up a successful mission. It is only a matter of time before SpaceX gets the certification it needs to launch more spaceflights. This means more people would be able to travel to space, including you and me.
SpaceX’s collaboration with NASA’s commercial crew program is only the beginning. The just-completed Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station is one of 6 flights SpaceXCrew Dragon would make for NASA.
But for Elon Musk, traveling to space is just a minuscule part of his goals. Elon is looking to make it possible for humans to live on Mars.
“What this heralds is fundamentally a new era in spaceflight and space exploration. We’re going to go to the moon, have a base on the moon, send people to Mars, and make life multi-planetary.” He says.
With this breakthrough, the idea of life on Mars is looking more feasible by the day. However, long before that would happen, SpaceX has collaborated with Space Adventures to fly four tourists to space on one of the Crew Dragon spacecraft sometime in 2021.
Space X might be the first commercially built spacecraft, but it isn’t the only one. Boeing is a close contender and fellow collaborator in NASA’s commercial crew program. Currently, Boeing is working on its spacecraft known as the Boeing Starliner. Just like SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, Boeings’ starliner is a commercial crew spacecraft designed to carry crew members and cargo to space.
Although it is still in its testing stages, the Boeing starliner is set to make a second uncrewed launch to the International Space station in late November 2020. At this rate, Boeing and SpaceX would pioneer the first space taxi service in the world, and we can’t wait to see it happen. Hopefully, after this second demo launch, they’ll launch their first crewed space flight.
We are on the cusp of a new dawn in space exploration. The next few years would be rife with major achievements that lead to creating multi-planetary life for humans. With visionaries like Elon Musk working closely with NASA, the United States of America is set to pioneer the new age of space exploration.