US astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley successfully disembarked from the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and entered the International Space Station on Sunday in what is widely viewed as the beginning of a new era in space exploration, according to the New York Times. With the first leg of the historic journey now complete, Behnken and Hurley are expected to remain aboard the space station for up to 110 days, NASA announced.
This was the first journey into space by NASA astronauts in a private sector space vehicle.
Despite the widespread jubilation, Russian space agency Roscosmos mocked the US for its “hysteria” after the spacecraft blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and ended Russia’s nine-year monopoly over travel to the space station. This was “what should have happened a long time ago happened,” Roscosmos Spokesperson Vladimir Ustimenko said, according to AFP.