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​Elon Musk's SpaceX Rocket Has Successfully Launched

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​Elon Musk's SpaceX Rocket Has Successfully Launched

Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket has successfully launched at the second attempt, after the first launch was abandoned on Wednesday.

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The spacecraft is carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, and marks the first time astronauts have been launched into orbit from US soil since the Space Shuttle was retired.

The craft itself is a pretty incredible feat of engineering, to be fair. It comes in two parts: one that provides the power for lift off, and a second that houses the intrepid space explorers.

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All being well, the first part will separate and return of its own accord to a landing ship in the sea off Florida, which is impressive enough.

Then, the second part will continue the journey on into orbit, where it will eventually dock with the International Space Station 24 hours later on. The second part - called the Crew Dragon craft - will be tested for environmental control, manoeuvring thrusters, and displays and controls.

As well as travelling in the commercial spacecraft, the astronauts will also be wearing hi-tech SpaceX space suits.

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken. Credit: PA
NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken. Credit: PA
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This Demo-2 mission is a way of SpaceX showing that it can safely take astronauts to the International Space Station, and get them back in one piece.

It represents the final step on SpaceX's journey to being certified by NASA's Commercial Crew programme for regular flights carrying astronauts to the International Space Centre.

The original attempted launch saw an estimated crowd of 150,000 gather at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, despite social distancing measures remaining in place.

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From the UK, you might be able to get a socially distanced view of it passing through the sky at around 10.15pm.

The MeteorWatch reads: "Unlike the earlier scrubbed launch on Wednesday, you won't see the craft over the UK 15 - 20 minutes later, but you may be able to see it pass over the UK/ Europe around 22:15 UK time the same evening.

"You will only need your eyes and to know when and what direction to look in.

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"The pass will be very low in the sky near the horizon and will be a challenge to spot. It may be too low to be visible in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England.

"This will be the only time we will be able to see the spacecraft fly over before docking the following day."

Eyes peeled folks.

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: elon musk, World News

Jake Massey
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