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SpaceX Launches Private Flight of Four to the International Space Station

On Wednesday, April 27th, SpaceX launched four astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA. This happened less than two days after they had just completed a flight chartered by millionaires. The launch is historic as it is NASA’s first time sending a crew into space containing equally men and women, including the first Black woman to take a long-term spaceflight, Jessica Watkins. 

Although in the past, two black women astronauts have been to the international space station during the shuttle era, none of them were there for a lengthy stay, making Watkin’s stay at the space station historic. Watkins sees her mission as “an important milestone, I think, both for the agency and for the country.” She praises her family and friends for supporting her mission and role model, Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space in 1992, saying that she is “ultimately being able to live my dream.”

Kathy Lueders, NASA’s space operations mission chief, said, “This is one of the most diversified, I think, crews that we’ve had in a really, really long time. Anyone who saw it realized what a beautiful launch it was.”

According to SpaceX, SpaceX capsules are fully automated. They are designed to adjust and accommodate a broader range of body sizes, allowing for a wider range of people. Both NASA and the European Space Agency have since pushed for more female astronauts. 

The astronauts lifted off from Kennedy Space Center and shortly arrived at the space station Wednesday night, just 16 hours after liftoff. Space X has launched over four crews for NASA and two private trips in under two years. NASA recently has had its first private guests. Elon Musk’s company sent three business people to and from the international space station. 

According to NASA, the crew sent on Wednesday will replace the crew currently staying at the space station. The old crew will return to Earth in their very own SpaceX capsule. Both NASA and SpaceX are very adamant about their safety protocols and have been stressing that they are taking things slow to ensure the safety of their astronauts.

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