Amidst all the chaos of the weekend of strife, many people missed out on the most amazing thing, especially for guys like me. On Saturday afternoon, after a weather delay earlier in the week, the SpaceX spacecraft blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center.

It was awe-inspiring.  The spacecraft, which has never held people before, carried two brave NASA astronauts — Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — at speeds up to 17,500 mph.   (Interestingly, both Behnken and Hurley are married to astronauts.)

The Washington Post has more on this historic launch:

The Dragon spacecraft flies autonomously, but the astronauts can take over the controls at any time, and they did so twice to check how the systems performed. During the broadcast from the capsule, Hurley noted that they were the first astronauts to control a spacecraft using a touchscreen.

“So we got that going for us,” he said.

Unlike the violent force of liftoff, docking is a delicate and carefully choreographed bit of orbital ballet, requiring patience and a finesse. Inside NASA’s mission control in Houston, and SpaceX’s headquarters outside of Los Angeles, controllers called through a series of maneuvers that seemed to go off without a hitch, one by one.

And then, at 10:16 a.m. Endeavour’s slow, smooth glide to the station ended with a kiss as the station flew over China and Mongolia.“We have docking,” NASA’s Dan Huot said during a broadcast of the event.

It took a few hours for the crews to ensure that the pressure was equalized between the space station and the Endeavour spacecraft. But then the hatch was opened and after a few more minutes, the pair floated into the station. Behnken came first, Superman style, smile beaming, into the arms of fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy, who has been aboard the station since April.

Hurley came next. And the three astronauts and friends embraced, along with two Russian cosmonauts, Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

Speaking during a welcome-aboard ceremony on the station, Hurley said “it’s great to get the United States back in the crewed launch business, and we’re just really glad to be on board this magnificent complex.”

This was the first time since 2011 that the US has launched from our soil, and it was the first time a private company sent astronauts into orbit.

When Elon Musk announced his intention to do this, almost everyone doubted him.  Even he admitted that he had given himself only about a 10% chance of success.  But now we know the rest of the history-making story.

What a wonderful spot of good news!  Humans are amazing when they put their mind to something.

Image credit: Wikipedia

Hat Tip: The Washington Post

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.