Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is not a religiously observant person, but he admitted earlier this week that he prayed about his Space X project.
In remarks after the Dragon Capsule completed a splash landing in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, bringing home two U.S. astronauts, the chief engineer and CEO of SpaceX, said at one point during his speech: “You know, I’m not very religious, but I prayed for this one.”
Musk has long planned to make living on Mars a viable option.
“We’re going to go to the moon, we’re going to have a base on the moon, we’re going to send people to Mars and make life multi-planetary,” he said.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine believes space travel is going to become increasingly common in part because of private-sector innovation.
“We are entering a new era of human spaceflight, where NASA is no longer the purchaser, owner and operator of all the hardware. We are going to be a customer,” Bridenstine said.
“One customer of many customers, in a very robust commercial marketplace for human spaceflight to low-Earth orbit.”
He added: “We also want to have numerous providers that are competing against each other on cost, and innovation, and safety, driving down costs and increasing access to space in a way that’s never been seen before.”
Musk believes the recent space accomplishments represent an "achievement of humanity."
“I think this is something that the whole world can take some pleasure in," he said. "These are difficult times when — you know, there’s not that much good news — and I think this is one of those things that is universally good no matter where you are on planet Earth, this is a good thing, and I hope it brightens your day.”
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken splashed into the ocean just before 3 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, concluding their approximately two-month stint at the International Space Station.
“We’re both super, super proud to have been just a small part of the team that accomplished bringing those spaceflights back to the Florida coast and bringing that capability back to America,” Behnken said after landing.
The Dragon Capsule was launched from a Falcon 9 rocket owned by SpaceX in May and was both the first private launch of NASA astronauts and the first launch of NASA astronauts from U.S. soil since 2011.
What is known as space tourism, traveling into space for recreational purposes, is sometimes referred to as citizen space exploration, personal spaceflight, or commercial human spaceflight, covering spaceflights which are suborbital, orbital, and even beyond Earth's orbit. Several companies have emerged in recent years for those wealthy enough to travel to space.