Amid the political and coronavirus turmoil, it’s time we turn to a story that demonstrates the best we can be.
After a launch delay due to Tropical Storm Eta, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule successfully launched last night carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station.
“SpaceX,” Space.com reports, “uses automated drone ships as floating landing pads in the Atlantic Ocean to recover the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket for later reuse. But good weather is needed for those operations. Recovering the Crew-1 mission’s first stage is vital since the booster will be used on SpaceX’s next astronaut flight for NASA, which is due to launch March 30.”
The autonomous landing platform is a master of advanced technology and the landing of the Falcon 9 booster rocket on a relatively small floating pad in the ocean is amazing to watch.
“SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission launched NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi on what will be a six-month mission at the International Space Station.”
With a dramatic, high-tech look, and touch screen controls, the whole SpaceX design looks like something from 2001 – A Space Odyssey, (despite being 9 years behind the film).
This marvel of engineering and technology is a partnership between NASA and billionaire Elon Musk who founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in 2002 for the expressed purpose of making space flight less costly and more reliable. SpaceX is “the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit in 2008 and the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft in 2010,” Wikipedia reports (click the link and scroll down to see a complete list of achievements).
However, weeks earlier, the astronauts decided to use the inaugural launch to make positive statement fit for the times.
“The Crew-1 Dragon capsule, no. 207,” astronaut Mike Hopkins explained, “will henceforth be known by the call sign ‘Resilience.’
” ‘Resilience,’ ” Hopkins said, “means functioning well in times of stress or overcoming adverse events. I think all of us can agree that 2020 has certainly been a challenging year, [with] a global pandemic, economic hardships, social unrest [and] isolation,” he said. “Despite all of that, SpaceX and NASA have kept the production line open and finished this amazing vehicle that is getting ready to go on its maiden flight to the International Space Station.
“It is not just a connection for the four of us. We really feel it is a connection to all of you, to everybody. We hope it brings a smile to your face. We hope it provides something positive in your lives, and quite frankly, we hope it is an inspiration that shows when you work together, there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
And that message is more important than ever.