SpaceX launched another successful astronaut mission which was destined for the International Space Station in the early hours of Wednesday.
This day marks another historic day in space as the SpaceX rocket takes the first black woman to join the International Space Station crew.
The astronauts on board took off from earth at 3:52 am on the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. They will spend a day in orbit before successfully docking at the ISS expected at 8 pm.
The mission is named Crew-4 and it also marks the return of joint crew launches between SpaceX and NASA.
The joint missions were halted after SpaceX had announced plans to take a private mission to the space station having only wealthy customers on board.
The mission Crew-4 has NASA astronauts onboard namely Robert Hines, Kjell Lindren, and Jessica Watkins. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti also joined the crew. She is representing the European Space Agency.
The flight of crew-4 has another historic aspect attached to it. It carries the first ever black woman to become a part of the crew of an International Space Station.
Jessica Watkins will become the first ever black woman to be a part of such a mission. There have been many black women who have traveled in space in the past. The first black woman who traveled in space was Guion Bluford back in 1983 but no black woman ever had the opportunity to work and live in space for a particular period of time.
The International Space Station has allowed over 200 astronauts to do so since it was launched in year 2000.
“This is certainly an important milestone I think both for our [space] agency and for the country,” Watkins said at a press conference last month. “I think it really is just a tribute to the legacy of the black women astronauts that have come before me as well as to the exciting future ahead.”
Jessica Watkins is one of the most prized astronauts of NASA. She began her career as an intern and previously was part of the team that worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center located in Mountain View, California.