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Even if space isn’t on your bucket list, what happened this weekend may change America’s pathway to traveling the universe for generations to come.

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“A new generation of space flight starts now with the arrival of @SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the @Space_Station. Congratulations to all for this historic achievement getting us closer to flying American Astronauts on American rockets.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. NASA stopped the space shuttle program (transporting Americans to space) in 2011. A major reason: It wasn't cost effective. NASA is now partnering with private companies, like SpaceX, for its next space travel steps.
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What Happened:

SpaceX “Dragon Capsule” launched early Saturday morning & docked at the International Space Station on Sunday.

If this mission is successful (reentry to Earth scheduled for Friday), two astronauts are expected to hitch a ride  in July – potentially the first time Americans will launch into space from U.S. soil in 8 years.

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Why It Matters:

  • America now depends on Russian rockets to get to space. Two U.S. astronauts will ride on a Russian rocket in mid-March.
  • Dragon Capsule = “streamlines” space travel. Transports up to 7 astronauts (same as shuttle). 30 buttons/touch screens vs. 2,000 switches in a shuttle cockpit. Potentially “safer” with emergency abort engines not on shuttle.
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Besides SpaceX, Boeing is working on spacecrafts that will potentially carry Americans to outer space from American soil. Whoever is successful first will earn the U.S. flag left in 2011 by the last U.S. space shuttle crew to travel to the International Space Station.

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