Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, celebrated the safe return of NASA's Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board the company's spacecraft Crew Dragon on its first astronaut mission on Sunday. The Demo 2 mission was also the first to launch and land in the U.S. since 2011, and the first since 1975.
Just five hours after descending into the Atlantic after a two-month stay on the International Space Station, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken appeared with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Musk at a special event at Ellington Field in Houston. Texas.
A pumped musk was visibly relieved to see the safe return of the two astronauts on a smooth mission. "I'm not very religious, but I prayed for this."
The billionaire entrepreneur, who founded SpaceX 18 years ago with the ultimate goal of creating a reusable space transportation system, said the successful Demo 2 mission heralded "a new era in space exploration" and added excitedly, "We're going out into the world go moon, we will have a base on the moon, we will send people to Mars and make life multi-planetary. "
With renewed vigor for these much more ambitious missions with more powerful SpaceX rockets, Musk described Sunday's achievement as "something the whole world can enjoy and truly see as an achievement of humanity".
Doug and Bob
Astronauts Hurley and Behnken appeared so soon after the hosing and understandably looked tired, although both looked good overall. After nine weeks of weightlessness on board the space station, the couple still felt a little shaky on their feet and decided to stay seated during their brief appearance.
"It's just incredible to be where we are now with Dragon's first crew flight," said Hurley, adding that he looks forward to sharing details of the mission with the public in the coming weeks and months.
Behnken recognized the accomplishments of SpaceX and NASA in making the first launch and landing in the United States since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, saying, “It's special to have the ability to have your own astronauts to start and bring home. We have spent many years without this ability, and I think we are both very proud to have been only a small part of the team that managed to bring those space flights back to the Florida coast and that ability back to America. "
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said: "It is simply impossible to put into words how important this [mission] was for our country to be able to access space from our own soil."