KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are now safely aboard the International Space Station after yesterday’s historic launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch marks the first time that a commercial company has launched astronauts into space. It also ends a 9-year gap, since the final flight of the Space Shuttle, in which astronauts have not flown to space from US soil.
‘Dragon arriving’: For first time, astronauts reach the space station in SpaceX capsule
I was on-site at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch and was able to place five remote cameras near the launchpad to capture liftoff of the rocket from a distance too close for human observers. The cameras used sound triggers to fire the shutters based on the roar from the Falcon’s Merlin engines.
Traveling across country during this pandemic is certainly not ideal, and we were subject to mandatory mask and social-distancing restrictions, but being able to document and share this historic event with others certainly made it worthwhile.
The sense of excitement with the locals in Florida was palpable. Many turned out to view the launch despite many of the beaches and prime viewing areas being closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. President Trump, Vice President Pence and many other VIPs were also on hand to witness the launch.
Enjoy an up-close view of the Falcon 9 rocket from the launchpad.