09/17/2020

SoFi is committed to fighting racism, standing in solidarity with all of our communities, providing space for open dialogue,
as well as taking action as informed allies. We are donating $1 million to organizations that empower people of color and their allies.

Man looking toward city

SpaceX Sends American Astronauts to the International Space Station



The Crew Dragon


Today, astronauts will be launched into space from US soil for the first time in almost a decade. The blastoff is historic for a number of reasons: It marks the first time a private company, SpaceX, has sent people into orbit. The launch is also happening in the midst of a global pandemic, giving people a welcomed bit of good news.

SpaceX has been working on perfecting a gumdrop-shaped capsule called the Crew Dragon for the past six years. Last year, SpaceX successfully executed a “dress rehearsal,” sending the vessel to the International Space Station without people onboard. The company has also performed numerous safety drills with the vessel’s emergency escape capabilities. Today, two experienced NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, will become the Crew Dragon’s first passengers.

The launch is scheduled to take place at 4:33 EST. After roughly 12 minutes, the rocket will release the Crew Dragon into low Earth orbit. The rocket will then return to earth while the astronauts orbit the planet for about 19 hours. The astronauts will steer the Crew Dragon toward the International Space Station and then the Crew Dragon’s autonomous docking system will kick in. The team will stay at the International Space Station for several months before returning to Earth aboard the Crew Dragon.

A Beacon of Inspiration


News of the flight is providing solace at a time when every headline seems to be related to coronavirus and its economic impacts. The SpaceX team and NASA are taking special precautions to ensure that coronavirus does not impact the mission.

The two astronauts are quarantining and have been regularly tested for COVID-19 leading up to the launch. Though normally hundreds of thousands of people would travel to Kennedy Space Center to watch the historic blastoff, NASA has asked people to watch online instead of gathering in a large crowd and risking the spread of infection.

Because this launch is happening during such a tumultuous time in history, some are comparing the Crew Dragon mission to the launch of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve, 1968, which provided inspiration to Americans reeling from the recent assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Public-Private Space Travel


In addition to taking place during a pandemic, the flight is also historic because it represents the beginning of a new era of space flight driven by private enterprise.

NASA negotiated a fixed-price contract with SpaceX, and despite delays and setbacks, the cost of the flight remains close to the original amount set forth. NASA will pay about $55 million per seat for this mission. That’s a bargain compared to the $70-$85 million it was costing for American astronauts to ride on the Russian Soyuz during recent years, or the $1.5 billion NASA spent on each space shuttle mission.

This flight also signals progress towards private space tourism. SpaceX is already signing up passengers for multi-day trips to space, costing $35 million per seat. Though space travel is still a distant possibility for the average person, the launch of the Crew Dragon is an important milestone for public-private collaboration and many are excited about what the future has in store.


Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Advisor
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.
SOSS52701


All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

ABOUT SoFi SoFi helps people achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions. Our products for borrowing, saving, spending, investing, and protecting give our more than one million members fast access to tools to get their money right. SoFi membership comes with the key essentials for getting ahead, including career advisors and connection to a thriving community of like-minded, ambitious people. For more information, visit SoFi.com. Want an easy and convenient way to manage your financial life? Get the SoFi app. For iOS and Android.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender