Elon Musk, chief engineer and CEO of SpaceX, made a passionate speech after the Dragon Capsule successfully splash landed into the Gulf of Mexico, bringing home two astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley of NASA.
In his brief remarks, Musk suggested the success of Dragon Capsule, which was also nicknamed “Endeavour,” put humanity on “fundamentally, a new era in spaceflight, a new era in space exploration.”
“We’re going to go to the moon, we’re going to have a base on the moon, we’re going to send people to Mars and make life multi-planetary,” he said.
Musk, who has been open about his goal to colonize Mars, was also met with enthusiasm on Sunday from NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who previewed a future of low-Earth orbit space flight with increased accessibility, thanks to innovations in the private sector.
“We are entering a new era of human spaceflight, where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware. We are going to be a customer,” said Bridenstine. “One customer of many customers, in a very robust commercial marketplace for human spaceflight to low-Earth orbit.”
He continued: “We also want to have numerous providers that are competing against each other on cost, and innovation, and safety, driving down costs and increasing access to space in a way that’s never been seen before.”
“We are entering a new era of human spaceflight.”
Administrator @JimBridenstine comments on the historic nature of our #LaunchAmerica mission: this is the beginning of commercial transportation to and from the @Space_Station. pic.twitter.com/Gnc9D1JqIw
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
Musk, still passionate but seemingly at a loss for words, added in his brief speech: “You know, I’m not very religious but I prayed for this one.”
“I think this is something that the whole world can take some pleasure in, and can really look at this as an achievement of humanity,” continued Musk. “These are difficult times when — you know, there’s not that much good news — and I think this is one of those things that is universally good no matter where you are on planet Earth, this is a good thing, and I hope it brightens your day.”
“No matter where you are on planet Earth, this is a good thing.”@SpaceX CEO @ElonMusk reflects on the success of the #LaunchAmerica mission and what it means for commercial space capability: pic.twitter.com/qYjBRd2GPO
— NASA (@NASA) August 3, 2020
Hurley and Behnken splashed into the ocean shortly before 3 p.m. EST on Sunday, marking the end of their roughly two-month stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
“Thanks for flying @SpaceX.”
📍 Current Location: Planet Earth
A 2:48pm ET, @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug splashed down, marking the first splashdown of an American crew spacecraft in 45 years. #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/zO3KlNwxU3
— NASA (@NASA) August 2, 2020
The Dragon Capsule, which launched from a Falcon 9 rocket owned by SpaceX back in May, represented not only the first private launch of NASA astronauts, but also the first launch of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil since 2011.
“We’re both super, super proud to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those spaceflights back to the Florida coast and bringing that capability back to America,” said Behnken after landing.