We may have reached a new milestone in the evolution of the Space Race, with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule landing on the surface of the Moon.
On Sunday (local time), the unmanned vehicle arrived at the surface at a speed of around 7.5 km per hour (4 mph), landing in a crater dubbed “the geocenter” after the coordinates used to determine the location of the launch site.
In a statement, SpaceX said the landing was an important milestone in advancing the space race, and the company is excited to share its latest progress.
“With the successful landing of Dragon on the lunar surface, SpaceX is now moving forward with an ambitious plan to build a network of space stations to help launch astronauts from the International Space Station,” the statement said.
“The first station will be the Mir space station, scheduled to be launched in 2022, and will be capable of carrying a crew of up to 15 people to and from the station, and also the first crew to walk on the moon.”
SpaceX’s Dragon is the first private company to launch a manned spacecraft on the International Spaceport in Houston, Texas.
Its goal is to launch astronauts to the International Launch Site, or ISS, the second-largest orbiting laboratory in the world.
The first human crew to the ISS is expected to fly there in 2024, but the company plans to fly a second crew to Mars in 2029.
SpaceX currently has six astronauts on the station and plans to add another two in 2026.
It was not immediately clear when the first human flight to the station was scheduled to take place.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft landed in a hole in the moon’s surface at around 7:00pm local time (19:00 GMT) on Sunday.
It will now be towed away from the lunar module and be retrieved by a robotic arm to the site of the landing, which is being prepared for a future mission.
“After this mission, we’ll start to prepare the module to take the crew to space,” Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX, told reporters on Sunday at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
“We’ll probably get to it later in the year, but we’re not finished yet.”
The company said it planned to use the rover to retrieve the capsule, which will be put back into the Earth’s atmosphere at the end of the mission.
A similar mission to retrieve a human space capsule was also attempted in 2003 by NASA.