SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off with two NASA astronauts

# Indian Girl Kanika Gakhar played a substantial role in the mission

RNS: Falcon 9— a SpaceX rocket carrying two veteran NASA astronauts lifted off on Saturday on a historic first private crewed flight into space; originally been scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed because of weather conditions, which also remained uncertain on Saturday right up until lift-off at 3:22 pm (1922 GMT).

The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off smoothly in a cloud of orange flames and smoke from Launch Pad 39A at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center for the 19-hour voyage to the International Space Station, stated media reports.

The first booster stage of the rocket separated cleanly and landed upright on a barge off the Atlantic coast while the second stage also separated smoothly, sending the astronauts in the Crew Dragon capsule on their way to the space station orbiting some 250 miles (450 kilometres) above the Earth.

President Donald Trump flew to Florida aboard Air Force One to watch the launch and described it as “really something special,” Hindustan Times reported. “Real talent, real genius, nobody does it like us,” Trump said.

Indian girl Kanika Gakhar (form Lucknow) had a substantial role to play in the mission. The 24-year-old is an aerospace engineering student and an important member of the team that designed the rocket in 2018. Initially, an intern, now Kanika is all prepared to join SpaceX in August, reported Times of India.

She said, “I have got all treasures of the world. I have everything now”. Kanika is presently studying her master’s at MIT and had worked on the landing legs of the rocket. She was part of the ground support team whose job was to make sure that the rocket comes down safely.

“I was an intern at SpaceX in 2018 and we worked on various projects in the three-month tenure. One of them was designing the landing legs of rockets that SpaceX sends to space. Falcon 9 has the same design,” added Kanika.

Gakhar’s parents are super proud of her and her father Sandeep said, “Since the age of about five, Kanika had begun saying that she wanted to go to NASA. Her focus was clear”, reported

Her mother added, “Kanika was always a hard worker and focused. She pushed herself at every step to reach her goal”. Gakhar owes all of her success to her family and said that her parents have been a great support system to her, it reported.

Kanika Gakhar played a substantial role in the mission



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