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SpaceX Captures the Flag
News Bytes 06/3/2020 13 Comments

Last Saturday, NASA astronauts rocketed into space. The historic launch drew crowds along Florida beaches. It was the first U.S. liftoff in nearly a decade—and it was unique because it happened as a result of a joint partnership between the government space agency and a private business. Just two days later, SpaceX declared yet another victory: winners in a cosmic game of capture the flag.

A notebook-sized American flag flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981. The same one flew on the final one in 2011. The crew left the Stars and Stripes behind at the International Space Station.

Bagging the famous flag was added motivation for Elon Musk’s SpaceX company and Boeing. Both were competing to be the first private company to launch a crew to the space station. Boeing’s first astronaut flight isn’t expected until next year.

“Congratulations, SpaceX, you got the flag,” NASA astronaut Doug Hurley told an excited audience at SpaceX headquarters in California a day after arriving at the space station. Hurley was also part of the 2011 mission that left the flag.

“You can bet we will take it with us when we depart back to Earth,” he said, floating alongside crewmate Bob Behnken.

An estimated 100,000 people—suppliers, vendors, engineers, etc.—were responsible for Saturday’s flawless launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon capsule, also built and owned by SpaceX, docked at the space station Sunday. Hurley and Behnken joined three space station residents—an American and two Russians.

SpaceX manager Benji Reed asked the astronauts about the Falcon ride. Hurley said he could feel when the rocket broke the sound barrier. He said the final push to orbit was full of vibrations and felt like “driving fast, very fast on a gravel road.”

The astronauts instantly went from pulling more than three times the force of Earth’s gravity—to zero gravity when they reached orbit. “Sounds like the ultimate ride in a Batmobile with the jet engine turned on,” Reed says.

One of the first things Behnken did upon reaching the orbiting lab was call his six-year-old son, Theo. He wanted to discuss Theo’s thoughts about the blastoff “while it was still fresh in his mind.”

NASA will keep Hurley and Behnken at the space station from one to four months. The timing depends on how the Dragon performs in orbit and preparations for the company’s next astronaut flight—currently planned for August.

Behnken says it’s a little hard explaining to his son when he’d back. But, Behnken says, “He’s just excited that we’re going to get a dog when I get home.”

(NASA astronauts Robert L. Behnken, left, and Chris Cassidy, right, listen as commander Douglas Hurley speaks about retrieving the American flag for SpaceX on Monday, June 1, 2020. NASA via AP)

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Most recent comments

Go SpaceX!!!

Cool! what an awesome accomplishment!!! That must have been crazy to go from pulling "three times the force of Earth's gravity - to zero gravity." My cousin once removed flied jets off an aircraft carrier, and those jets, when making turns, could pull some G's. They had to do special things with their muscles so the blood would not rush all down to their feet. Those turns could only last a few seconds, or it could be dangerous. Who here likes playing capture the flag? I do! It is so fun!
Also, if y'all could pray for rain, it would be greatly appreciated. We need it sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo badly.

We watched the spaceship take

We watched the spaceship take off and stuff. It was so so awesome, and so hard to comprehend at the same time!

My brother and his family

My brother and his family tried to see it when it was scheduled on Wednesday last week, but that got cancelled be cause of the weather. So they just watched the livestream on Saturday. Riley I will be praying for rain for you! : )

@Riley

Me too!

This is Mylee

I love capture the flag!!! We play it with cousins all the time!!! I am so glad for space x !!!!! I will pray for it to rain ovver there over here it rains way too much .

This is Mylee

Typo over

@ Everyone

we watched the launch on saturday. it was really cool!

@ Riley D.

i'll pray! ( ps sorry if i sound nosy ( and rude :) ) but why u do need rain? )

Cool!!! I would love to go to

Cool!!! I would love to go to space!

@Everyone

Thanks you so much for the prayers! It sprinkled last night, but we need a lot more. Keep praying! Thanks
@Belwyn R: We need rain because we are in a pretty severe drought where I live. We haven't had a good rain at all this year, and it is so so so so so so so dry. May is usually our greenest month and it was dry, brown, and crisp this year. My family farms and we have all the crops in the ground. We have irrigation, but it is hard to keep enough water running on everything. We have to keep the sprinklers going 24/7. We are trying to water our yard, but again, we have to have sprinklers going all the time and that uses a lot of well water. And the aquifer is low here, and so are the wells. We have to go deeper and deeper all the time to find more water. Does that answer your question? and no, you weren't being nosy it is fine!

That must have been awesome!

I'm happy for those astronauts. It must have been really exciting to make it to the space station!

@ Riley D.

thanks i understand now! good luck w/ ur farming! (i'll still pray though)

@Belwyn R

Thanks!

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