NASA has been dependent on Russia for transport to and from the ISS. Over time the cost of seats on the Soyuz crew vehicle have risen.
The Roscosmos’s Soyuz vehicle has been ferrying crew to the International Space Station since November 2000. Originally Soyuz was designed to carry cosmonauts to the Moon, however was repurposed to be the main transport vehicle for Russia over the years. The Soyuz spacecraft is capable of carrying three crewmembers at a time and is certified to remain docked with the ISS for a maximum of 200 days and is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site.
The New York Time reported Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif. — SpaceX, for short — launched its Falcon 9 rocket on schedule at 8:35 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “trouble-free countdown followed by liftoff at 8:35 p.m. ET, precisely as scheduled.”
Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the NASA administrator said, “It actually marks the beginning of true commercial spaceflight to take cargo to the International Space Station for us.”
This is a milestone in the relationship between public and private enterprise. The handoff of what public enterprise, NACA/NASA, pioneered, developed and brought to maturity, to private enterprises capable of lowering the costs of space travel with ambitions to do more than stay in low earth orbit.
Congratulations, to Elon Musk, who believed it was possible, and went ahead and proved all the nay sayers wrong. This is an example of how one man’s vision and tenacity has changed the way we perceive the world. Congratulations!