South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on June 1 sent warm congratulations to South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk on the success of the first crewed commercial space flight in history. Musk is the founder and chief engineer of US enterprise SpaceX.
“In the midst of our struggle against Covid-19, Elon Musk has made us proud as a country and continent,” highlighted the President. “The Dragon’s successful flight to the International Space Station speaks of the ability of a resilient, industrious, fearless and visionary individual to harness talent and material resources to open new frontiers of hope, adventure and opportunity for generations into the future.”
The CrewDragon space capsule was launched on May 30 and successfully carried two US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The Falcon 9 rocket which launched the capsule was also a SpaceX product.
The docking with the ISS happened 19 hours after lift-off. The flight was executed under contract from the US space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“It is most appropriate that we have been given this hope and excitement at a time when insecurity and uncertainty defines the human condition in many parts of the world,” affirmed Ramaphosa. The statement from the Presidency pointed out that Musk was still a South African citizen, as well as being a citizen of Canada and the US.