2020: A record year for space exploration – Central Florida News – Intersection – Space

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft aboard the SpaceX GO Navigator salvage ship shortly after landing in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Fla. Sunday, August 2, 2020 The Demo-2 test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program was the first to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth aboard a commercialized and operated spacecraft. Behnken and Hurley returned after spending 64 days in space. Photo credit: (NASA / Bill Ingalls)

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2020 has been a banner year for space exploration. In May, NASA resumed manned space flight from the United States for the first time in nearly a decade, with Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley taking off from the Kennedy Space Center.

WKMG digital reporter Emilee Speck, who hosts the Space Curious podcast, told Intersection that the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon marked a milestone in NASA’s commercial crew program.

“It was really surreal and it was quite emotional,” Speck said.

“Everyone was clapping and applauding, it was very, very exciting, but it was also stressful, you know you can never forget that these are two men with families, they are fathers, have young sons and there is so much work. making sure they got into space safely and returned home safely.

The year 2020 also saw the success of deep space exploration, including a robotic mission to catch dust from an asteroid millions of miles from Earth.

But the year was also a disaster for the astronomical community, with part of the giant Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico suddenly collapsing.

Supporters of the observatory say its reconstruction would show support for science and Puerto Rico.

WMFE space reporter Brendan Byrne said there were calls to rebuild the telescope.

“A lot of people are optimistic about the arrival of a new administration. And, you know, it’s a chance for the Biden administration to show their support for science by rallying, you know, behind that and showing their support for Puerto Rico as well. good. It could also be a political statement from this administration.

Arecibo’s 305-meter radio telescope helped search for alien life and track nearby asteroids. A petition to rebuild the dish reaches over 110,000 signatures.