Four astronauts have left the United States for the International Space Station. They are the first space travellers to be transported with a rocket that has already been used in such a flight.
The launch of the Falcon 9 from the commercial space company SpaceX was successful.
The crew consists of two Americans, a Japanese and a French. That Thomas Pesquet is the first astronaut of the European space agency ESA to travel in a capsule from SpaceX to the ISS. The flight takes approximately 24 hours.
Elon Musk’s space company is bringing astronauts to the ISS for the third time. It uses the same missile and capsule that were used in the previous mission. Costs can be reduced considerably by reusing such equipment.
This cost-cutting operation was also referenced on the license plates of the Tesla cars that transported the astronauts. It contained the words “recycle”, “reuse”, and “reduce”.
The astronauts’ mission takes about six months. They will conduct scientific experiments hundreds of kilometres above the earth.