Oklahoman watches historic SpaceX launch in person

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(KFOR) – As Americans prepared for the launch of Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Florida, one Oklahoma family had a front row seat.

Brad Williams and his family woke up early on Monday and decided to make the drive to Florida in order to watch the launch in person.

19 hours after leaving his home in Oklahoma, Williams and his family arrived at Merritt Island, Florida.

When Wednesday’s launch was canceled due to the weather, Williams decided to stay until Saturday and hoped for clear skies.

Prior to takeoff on Saturday, Williams and his family went to the beach in order to get the best view of the launch.

He told KFOR you could feel a mix of anxiety and excitement as the crowd waited for the historic moment.

As the Falcon 9 rocket made its way toward the sky, the crowd began chanting ‘USA.’

A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020. The two astronauts are on the SpaceX test flight to the International Space Station. For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
A SpaceX Falcon 9, with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Dragon crew capsule, lifts off from Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, May 30, 2020. The two astronauts are on the SpaceX test flight to the International Space Station. For the first time in nearly a decade, astronauts blasted towards orbit aboard an American rocket from American soil, a first for a private company. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

“It was an inspiring and awesome sight,” Williams told KFOR in an email.

Saturday’s launch marked the first time in history that a commercial aerospace company has carried humans into Earth’s orbit.

Williams says that partnership played a role in his decision to make the trip, adding that he always wanted to be an astronaut himself.

The United States hasn’t launched its own astronauts into space since the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011.

The space agency’s top official, Oklahoman Jim Bridenstine, also said he hopes this launch will inspire awe and uplift the general public during the ongoing health crisis.

Congresswoman Kendra Horn, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, attended the launch as well.

“Congratulations to NASA and SpaceX on today’s successful demonstration launch of astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS),” said Congresswoman Kendra Horn. “As the first launch of American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil in almost a decade, the Demo-2 mission marks a significant milestone for our nation’s human space flight program and Commercial Crew.  I applaud the SpaceX and NASA teams for their dedication and tireless work, and I look forward to continued progress toward the certification of Crew Dragon for safe and routine transportation of NASA astronauts to the ISS.” 

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