ISSUE: FIrst Ever Spacecraft Launched by a Commercial Company Today

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0  Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Today astronauts will take off from American soil for the first time since 2011.

Space-X, the company run by PayPal founder Elon Musk, will launch its “Dragon” vehicle at 4:33 p.m. EDT (1:33 p.m. PDT) today (May 27th).

Not only does this mark a return to space from our own country but it will be the first time a commercial company has launched a mission to the International Space Station.

The last space shuttle launched in 2011.   After enormous costs and 2 catastrophic accidents NASA brought this program to an end.  Since then through an international agreement American astronauts have been journeying to the space station from Russia.  This situation was explored in the CBS television show, Big Bang Theory where Howard Wolowitz journeyed to Russia to take a rocket up to the International Space Station.


Elon Musk is a colorful character and someone we have talked about on User Friendly before.  He made his first billion when eBay bought PayPal.  PayPal and X Pay were companies that he was involved in founding.

Musk has gone on to found Tesla and Space-X among other things.

This mission, known as Demo-2, is co-commanded by vetern NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Herley.  Herley was also crew on the last shuttle in 2011.

Robert Louis “Bob” Behnken (/ˈbeɪnkən/,; born July 28, 1970 in St. Ann, Missouri) is a NASA astronaut, engineer and former Chief of the Astronaut Office. Behnken holds a Ph. D in Mechanical Engineering and the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he served before joining NASA in 2000.*

Douglas Gerald Hurley (born October 21, 1966) is an American engineer, former Marine Corps pilot, and current NASA astronaut. He piloted Space Shuttle missions STS-127 (July 2009) and STS-135 (July 2011), the final flight of the Space Shuttle program.*

Due to the current requirements of social distancing, NASA won’t allow people near the launch site so they are celebrating with a virtual launch.  You can take a virtual tour at

*Astronaut bios from Wikipedia

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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