SpaceX mission to International Space Station raises hopes about Moon and Mars – Angus Robertson

Elon Musk’s SpaceX could help humanity take another giant leap in space exploration, writes Angus Robertson

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on a mission to the International Space Station at Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Bill Ingalls/Nasa via AP)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on a mission to the International Space Station at Nasa's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Bill Ingalls/Nasa via AP)

Look up at night and you might be lucky enough to see the international space station orbiting the Earth.

The third brightest object in the sky looks like a fast-moving aircraft, just travelling in low Earth orbit thousands of miles an hour faster! If you want to see when it will be visible from Edinburgh or anywhere else, check out the ‘Spot the Station’ site operated by Nasa.

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Since the weekend, the ISS has two new astronauts aboard with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken who arrived in the groundbreaking SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft. They were fired into orbit by a Falcon rocket also built by SpaceX, the company led by tech billionaire Elon Musk.

The two astronauts are expected to be aboard the ISS for more than a couple of months before returning to Earth 420km below. In the meantime, they will be living and working with their Russian and American colleagues aboard the ISS.

After a nine-year gap since Americans last took off from native soil for low Earth orbit, we have definitely witnessed a seminal moment in the history of spaceflight.

Fans of space flight and science fiction alike will be watching closely to see if the commercial model speeds up planning for major projects to get back to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

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